Travel Spotlight: Hong Kong
Following the Sunday protest at the West Kowloon train station, the Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam once again addressed residents in the attempt to reassure the public that the controversial extradition bill was no longer on government’s agenda.
Hong Kong has been be shaken by the mass demonstrations for over a month, after the government announced the plan to introduce the ‘extradition law’, which would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. Many residents feared that it would undermine the independence of the legal system, bringing Hong Kong further under China’s control. The controversial bill was later withdrawn, but demonstration did not ceased. On 21 June, thousands of protesters blocked Police Headquarters, and on 1 July, at the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule, demonstrators stormed the Legislative Council Office (LegCo) - hundreds of youngsters remained in the building for several hours. The latest rally took place on 7 July, demonstrator marched from Tsim Sha Tsui to the West Kowloon train station, paralysing the major transportation hub connecting Hong Kong to the mainland China for several hours and causing travel disruption.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s latest announcement has not convinced the pro-democracy protesters, who point out that the bill has been only suspended (not withdrawn), and remains still in the government’s legislative programme until July 2020. The group behind the protest, Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) vowed to hold further demonstrations and repeated protesters’ five demands: 1) the full retraction of the extradition bill; 2) President Lam’s resignation; 3) the release of arrested protesters; 4) independent inquiry into police brutality; 5) and that the clashes were not to be treated as a riot.
- Further demonstrations remain likely and may turn violent with little or no notice. Avoid any public gatherings.
- Up till now, most of the rallies took place at Harcourt Road (Causeway Bay to Admiralty), and more recently at West Kowloon train station. Avoid the vicinity of the governmental buildings, especially the Legislative Council Office (LegCo), Police Headquarters (HKPHQ) at Harcourt Road/Arsenal Street.
- Travel disruption can be expected, large sections of the city may be closed off and public transport affected.
- Monitor local media reports.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice for Hong Kong: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/hong-kong
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