Hong Kong 'on path of no return' as violent protests hit busy airport

August 13, 2019

Flights have resumed at Hong Kong airport after management secured an injunction stopping protesters obstructing operations areas.

It comes after two days of violent clashes between pro-democracy supporters and riot police, during which China's Hong Kong liaison officer said protesters were no different to "terrorists".

Travel was suspended from the airport on Tuesday, with 120 flights cancelled, as thousands of demonstrators, many wearing black and covering their faces, barricaded entrances with luggage trolleys.

Overnight, the airport's management obtained "an interim injunction to restrain persons from unlawfully and wilfully obstructing or interfering" with airport operations.

About three dozen protesters have remained camped inside the arrivals area, but said they would obey the injunction.

Dicky, a 35-year-old protester who has been there for more than two days, said: "We will continue to fight for what we deserve otherwise all of that would have been in vain."

At the peak of Tuesday's violence, officers swinging batons and armed with pepper spray entered the terminal, with a policeman pulling out a gun at one point.

The police seemed overwhelmed at times - and were pelted with bottles as they tried to restore order.

Sky's chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay, who was at the scene, said: "Eventually riot police were deployed to help police buses full of officers get away as they were being attacked and they were dangerously close to getting their doors kicked in."

Protesters beat up at least two men they suspected of being undercover agents - and of one of them was tied to a trolley as activists rifled through his bag.

It took two hours for paramedics to reach the bound man, who was hurried into an ambulance after a "tug-of-war battle". The editor-in-chief of the pro-China Global Times newspaper later said he was one of their journalists, and not a police officer.

Activists in the former British colony have been protesting for weeks.

The protests began over a controversial law that would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China. Demonstrators want that extradition bill to be scrapped, amid fears that suspects could face torture or unfair, politically charged trials.

Protesters are also calling for the resignation of Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's leader.

She has warned that the continuing instability, chaos and violence have placed the city on a "path of no return".

Foreign Office minister Andrew Murrison said on Tuesday evening he is "very concerned" about the situation, calling the scenes from the airport over the past few days "deeply troubling".

With Beijing reportedly planning a crackdown, he said: "I don't think it's in the interests of anybody to take a hard line. It's in everybody's interests to try to turn the temperature down on this."

A third day of demonstrations is set to take place on Wednesday - potentially resulting in further travel disruption.

Some flights were still scheduled to take off early on Wednesday morning, but Cathay Pacific said flights might still be cancelled at short notice.

On Twitter, US President Donald Trump wrote: "Our intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!"

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