Hong Kong airport tightens access to check-in area ahead of protests

Hong Kong airport tightens access to check-in area ahead of protests

HONG KONG: Only passengers with valid documents will be allowed to enter the check-in aisles at Hong Kong International Airport's Terminal 1 this weekend, in anticipation of a three-day protest planned by demonstrators.

"Airport Authority Hong Kong is aware that there have been calls posted online for a public assembly at the airport on 9 – 11 August," it told CNA on Thursday (Aug 8).

In order for the airport to maintain the smooth operations for departing passengers, only those with "an air ticket or boarding pass for the next 24 hours and a valid travel document" will be allowed to enter the check-in aisles at Terminal 1, it said.

Airport staff must be able to show identification.

READ: Hong Kong lawyers march in silence to support anti-government protesters

The tightened access will apply between 6am to 11.59pm from Friday to Sunday.

Airport security staff will be on-site to assist passengers or airport staff in entering the area, the authority said.

READ: More Hong Kong companies say business impacted by mass protests

In a notice on its website, the Hong Kong International Airport said that the airport will "operate normally", and advised passengers to allow sufficient time for travelling.

"Passengers are also advised to check the flight status on the Hong Kong International Airport website or the HKG My Flight mobile app, or enquire with the airlines for updated information before coming to the airport," the notice read.

Hong Kong's flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said on Thursday that its flight to and from the airport "are currently operating as normal".

However, it warned that there could be traffic congestion and added entrance procedures at the airport, and urged passengers to allow sufficient travel time and to check-in online.

READ: Beijing tells US diplomats in Hong Kong to make 'clean break with anti-China rioters'

The tightened security comes as officials confirmed on Friday that a police commander who oversaw pro-democracy demonstrations that roiled the former British colony in 2014 has been recalled to help deal with protests that have plunged the financial hub into crisis.

Former deputy police commissioner Alan Lau Yip-shing has been appointed to help handle large-scale public order events and steer operations, including activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on Oct. 1, the government said in a statement.

SECOND AIRPORT DEMONSTRATION

This will be the second demonstration at the airport in two weeks.

On Jul 26, demonstrators armed with placards and flyers crowded into the airport's arrivals hall to protest against police violence during the rallies.

The protest went on until a midnight deadline, with people chanting "Free Hong Kong!" at arrivals.

Millions of people have taken to the streets since June to protest against a controversial extradition Bill, which would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. The city's chief executive Carrie Lam said the Bill was dead, but it has yet to be withdrawn.

The protests have since evolved into a call for wider democratic reforms, and have become increasingly violent.

Police have fired tear gas, rubber bullets and other projectiles at protesters, with demonstrators responding with metal sticks, bricks, gasoline bombs and carts full of burning debris.

Chief Superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch John Tse on Thursday urged protesters taking part to ensure the protest at the airport is peaceful and does not break the law.

With fresh demonstrations expected at the city's airport, countries have also issued heightened travel warnings.

The US was the latest, following in the steps of other countries including Australia, Britain, Ireland, Singapore and Japan. 

Source: CNA/Reuters/aa(aj)/hm

Bookmark