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Hong Kong Civil Unrest - Survival Guide Q&As (Flame Free)

Hong Kong Civil Unrest - Survival Guide Q&As (Flame Free)

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Old May 23, 20, 3:28 pm   -   Wikipost
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A. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

1. What is the purpose of this thread?

Ans: This thread is intended to help for FTers in navigating and resolving any potential issues related to their trips to Hong Kong, in light of to ongoing prolonged civil unrest in Hong Kong. The information on this guide is based on non-biased publicly available facts and data.While editing will be made as necessary to reflect the most updated development, please keep in mind that this guide is non-exhaustive. You should take any as necessary.

Declaimer– this thread is not intended to discuss about the civil unrest. FT has designated threads for the discussion of the civil unrest.

2. What should I know about the situation?

Ans: To make things simple, the civil unrest basically started from an anti-government movement against a proposed amendment to the existing extradition law due to an alleged murder occurred in Taiwan. Then it evolved to a conflict between the police and the protestors, as well as between pro-government/bill amendment supporters vs. anti-government/bill amendment supporters.

3. Does the civil unrest happen 24/7 or else?

Ans: Based on historical development, generally the unrest starts from a demonstration/protest, which usually happens after 12 pm. Then the confrontations start a few hours after the demonstration/protest and lasts passing midnight.

In most of the cases, non-business days are considered high risk days for the unrest. However, if there are any provocations, unrest can still occur on a business day within hours of the purported provocation.


B. PRE-TRAVEL ARRANGEMENT

1. Should I go to Hong Kong now? What about any future trips?

Ans: It is entirely up to you. So far, only Singapore has issued a travel alerts/advisory urging against non-essential travel to Hong Kong.

2. What recourse do I have if I want to change my trip to Hong Kong?

Ans: So far, there is no travel waiver/exception in place for Hong Kong. So the travel provider's standard cancellation policies will apply and most likely you will have to pay a penalty or change fee. However, there are reports of some exceptions have been made. This is straight YMMV situation for now. You will have to discuss your travel providers (airlines, hotel, TAs, etc.) for detail.

3. I heard that HKG has been affected by the unrest. Should I be worry if I plan to transit at HKG only?

Ans: It is entirely up to you.

Since the shut down on August 13, 2019, HKG has significantly tightened its security and heavily restricted its access. The High Court of Hong Kong has imposed an injunction against any non-legitimate use of the airport. In theory, there is no reason why you can't transit at HKG without issue.

However, keep in mind that airport/airline employees do not generally live/stay nearby. Their access may/can be impacted by the unrest, resulting a domino effect that eventually impact flight operations at HKG.

4. Which hotel should I stay?

Ans: It is entirely up to you. Because of how hotels in Hong Kong are positioned, the majority of hotels are nearby hot spots (see below) and have been impacted by the civil unrest. There are only limited options away from the hot spots. Many of those are not easily accessible by public transportation and are usually more expensive in comparison to hotels in similar levels. Use your own judgment to determine which one would work best or the least worst for you.

5. How about travel insurance (including benefits offered by credit cards)?

Ans: Because Hong Kong SAR Government has claimed in several occasions that certain events during the unrest as riots, insurers may exclude coverage as a result. Make sure you review necessary terms and conditions and contact your insurer/benefit administrator first.

6. I would like to go to Macau/Mainland China as well. Do I have anything to concern?

Ans: Yes. Since the civil unrest, both Macau/Mainland China has tightened its border security. It has been reported that many have been subjected to additional questioning. Some have been denied entries, and even detained.


C. IN HONG KONG

1. How can I avoid troubles?

Ans: You can avoid troubles by:
a. Avoid any related discussions in any public settings within the Greater China areas (Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, and Taiwan)
b. Avoid going to any hot spots (See below)
c. Avoid taking pictures or video of the protests/confrontations/etc.
d. Avoid wearing any top clothing either in black or white in colour
e. Be vigilant about your surroundings
f. Leave at once when situations are deteriorating, i.e. when you see police personnel in riot gears are present nearby, or there is a massive gathering nearby

Situations can deteriorate in seconds. Please process with extreme cautions and do not wait until the last minutes before out of control.

2. Where are the hot spots?

Ans: Based on historical development of this unrest, the following non-exhaustive points of interests have experienced either major conflicts or damages:
a. Best Mart 360
b. China Travel Service's Entry Permit Service Centres
c. Chinese* banks' facilities - ATMs and/or branches
d. Government buildings named "Government Offices"
e. HSBC Group# banks' facilities - ATMs and/or branches
f. Maxim's operated locations
f. MTR facilities - MTR (including Airport Express) Stations, Light Rail Stations and Bus Stops, Hong Kong West Kowloon (CRH) Station, Malls, etc.
g. Police stations
h. Retail networks of Sino United Publishing (Holdings) Limited, including, but not limited to Chung Hwa Book Company, Joint Publishing and the Commercial Press
i. UGC-funded universities
j. Yoshinoya
k. VTC Member Institutions
l. Immediate vicinity (Within 5-15 minutes of walking distance) of the locations above

In addition, Central Government Complex and Hong Kong Liaison Office have experienced multiple confrontations. When both of the British Consulate General and the U.S. Consulate General are not impacted, they have frequently become demonstration destinations.

Unless necessary, these areas should be avoided as much as practically possible.

* Based on self-identification, including Bank of China (Hong Kong), Bank of Communications, China Construction Bank (Asia), China CITIC Bank, Chiyu Banking Corporation Limited, Chong Hing Bank, CMB Wing Lung Bank, ICBC (Asia), and Nanyang Commercial Bank.

# Hang Seng Bank and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

3. How bad is the traffic? How can I get around Hong Kong?

Ans: MTR has been frequently targeted during the civil unrest, which practically paralyzed the entire system. MTR may/can suspended service without prior notices, and this happened in the past. This includes Airport Express service. Please plan carefully if you intend to travel with MTR (including Airport Express). If you intend to use the in-town check-in at Hong Kong/Kowloon Station, please make sure that Airport Express is in service and you are able to reach the station. Please follow Twitter MTR Service Update (@mtrupdate)*.

At this moment, public bus is the most reliable form of public transportation, even routes may be cancelled or diverted. Each of the major bus operators has its own smartphone Apps (KMB/LWB - APP 1933 - KMB/LWB, First Bus/Citybus - CitybusNWFB). Make sure that you have a smartphone with mobile data when you are in Hong Kong. Those Apps can help you navigate within Hong Kong, providing live update to current service status.

* MTR Mobile is MTR's official Mobile App. However, the App has often been criticized for its slow update than this unofficial Twitter.

4. What are the police using?

Ans: During the civil unrest, the Hong Kong Police Force has utilized the following non-exhaustive weaponry:

a. Lethal Weapons
- SIG Sauer P250
- Smith & Wesson Model 10

b. Non-lethal Weapons
- Baton
- Beanbag rounds, delivered by Remington Model 870
- Pepper spray, delivered by canister, water tank spray, pepper-spray projectile (including PepperBall VKS), and/or water cannon
- Rubber bullet rounds, delivered by Remington Model 870 or Federal Riot Gun
- Specialized Crowd Management Vehicle, commonly known as water cannon, delivering special dyed chemical water with tear gas substance
- Sponge rounds, delivered by Pacem Defense ALS Bore Thunder Launcher Adapter
- Tactical light
- Tear Gas, delivered by grenade or Federal Riot Gun

The following are safety data sheet of some of the above weaponry:
- NonLethal Technologies
- Pacem Defense ALS
- PepperBall

Note - the above information is provided for information only.

5. I see from the news that many have protective gears. Should I be prepared as well?

Ans: Preferably not a good idea.

Protective gears may/can be subject to import/export control. You could get serious trouble in found. Also – while unofficially, it seems that the police is focusing those who have protective gears. So having protective gears on can become a case of mistaken identity. Beside, the effect of protective gears are very limited in protection, as they are designed for industrial use only, but not withstanding weaponry.

6. What else can I do?

Ans: a) Make sure you have to your country’s emergency contact (international and local consulate) ready. For other countries which have their consulates in Macau, check with their consulates respectively. For Portugal, please ensure you have the emergency contact of another consulate of an EU member state located in Hong Kong.

Here is a list of contacts of all consulates serving Hong Kong.

b) Because the situation can change very rapidly, especially MTR closures, a smartphone with mobile data is essential when moving about. Having a smartphone App with live alert from a local media will also help you to avoid areas with trouble.

c) Be mindful of your actions. Due to the tightened tensions, an innocent move can be seen as a provocation. Always remember - Safety first.

d) Be extremely mindful about the content of your mobile devices. Any contents related to the unrest may/can possibly cause you troubles, Hong Kong and/or elsewhere.
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Old Nov 16, 19, 6:52 pm
  #151  
 
Join Date: May 2000
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Originally Posted by DrMarkMicro View Post
Quick update while sitting at the gate for my onward flight to Bangkok from HKIA after an entirely uneventful taxi & AE trip to the airport.

Currently there’s what the SCMP describes as an ‘uneasy truce’ in the city, with the only significant action occurring on university campuses. We saw nothing of the protests whatsoever on Friday or Saturday despite spending quite a bit of time in Central, although transport in to and across the commercial area was greatly restricted after around 3.30, presumably in case of activity.

I’d add to my previous post that Sheung Wan is well placed also for access on foot to the Outer Island piers through the IFC Mall. We saw a number of active poster walls around schools on Cheung Chau, with evidence of support for both sides, but no signs of physical conflict or route closures on the island.

Many thanks to everyone on this forum, whose experience and advice significantly eased our stay and allowed us to plan suitable activities.
Good to hear. Thank you so much for this update.
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Old Nov 16, 19, 9:50 pm
  #152  
 
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Originally Posted by JNelson113 View Post
I welcome any thoughts, and I understand that we're all speculating on what could happen this week. Thank you!
After decades of nagging lawyers, you have no idea how much I appreciate your position here!

I'd agree with MSP and keep your itinerary, especially with probably the best breakfast view in HK (assuming the IC on Kowloon harbor)! Should something happen, you always have the option to hop on the Star Ferry for the AE from HK Station. You'd have to get very unlucky to be delayed on a Friday morning. Not to suggest there hasn't been, but I can't recall any morning protests.

I'm scheduled to be there at around the same time, and have no intentions of cancelling or altering my plans.
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Old Nov 16, 19, 10:00 pm
  #153  
 
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Originally Posted by Visconti View Post
After decades of nagging lawyers, you have no idea how much I appreciate your position here!

I'd agree with MSP and keep your itinerary, especially with probably the best breakfast view in HK (assuming the IC on Kowloon harbor)! Should something happen, you always have the option to hop on the Star Ferry for the AE from HK Station. You'd have to get very unlucky to be delayed on a Friday morning. Not to suggest there hasn't been, but I can't recall any morning protests.

I'm scheduled to be there at around the same time, and have no intentions of cancelling or altering my plans.
Thank you!!! Yes, I love the views from the hotel--breakfast is a must as the views are spectacular and I really enjoy watching the harbor traffic from the plunge pools. Good to hear!
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Old Nov 17, 19, 4:08 am
  #154  
 
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The IHG is the only hotel we stay in.. what a great hotel
We are leaving over Thanksgiving, for a few days.. so far, from our dedicated cab guy
(we have had the same cab driver for the last 6 years, no real problems)

Have fun
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Old Nov 17, 19, 4:28 am
  #155  
 
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A safer approach will be to stay at the Airport Marriott and do the Big Buddha and stuff like that around there. Less fun but less risk, too.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 5:53 am
  #156  
 
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Originally Posted by JNelson113 View Post
3) Go to Macau instead. I've only been there once over fifteen years ago. I'd be all for that but the direct ferry service from HKG does not match my flight times very well, so I'd still need to go into town and catch a ferry there. Could run into trouble.
There are more ways than the ferry to get to Macau from HKIA.

Shuly
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Old Nov 17, 19, 8:03 am
  #157  
 
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Thank you, everyone! Macau is my backup plan should things be too crazy when I land, and great to know about the land option. Thanks again!
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Old Nov 17, 19, 10:08 am
  #158  
 
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You should check the situation the day before the trip, because, when you land, I assume all your hotel reservations will be non-refundable (at least the first night), or that's a risk you have to take, and I am guessing no insurance will cover civil unrest.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 11:13 am
  #159  
889
 
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At the moment, I'd say the situation this week depends on whether the on-going conflict at the Polytechnic can be resolved without bloodshed. It's that serious.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 12:03 pm
  #160  
 
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Thank you so much. I have not made hotel reservations yet. I'm going to disembark the plane then read the news and make the call. I agree that the situation at Polytechnic gives great cause for concern. If that's not resolved I'm going to Macau or sticking close to the airport.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 12:10 pm
  #161  
Formerly known as cedricgerald
 
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Enjoy your trip. You’re out right before the election, maybe that will help.
again enjoy and I’m jealous) would love to go
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Old Nov 17, 19, 12:59 pm
  #162  
 
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Originally Posted by nk15 View Post
You should check the situation the day before the trip, because, when you land, I assume all your hotel reservations will be non-refundable (at least the first night), or that's a risk you have to take, and I am guessing no insurance will cover civil unrest.
This might be a time to consider travel insurance with CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) if there are any expensive non-refundables, which would at least give 75% back. But that coverage usually needs to be started at the time the first payment/deposit is made.

We get CFAR for different reasons, although when there was some unrest elsewhere a few years ago, we realized that it was also nice to know that we could cancel if the "only" problem was that we might be or feel unsafe.
(We've never used CFAR yet. We've had several cancellations/interruptions of major trips, but all were for covered reasons, unfortunately.)

GC
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Old Nov 17, 19, 1:46 pm
  #163  
 
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Originally Posted by GeezerCouple View Post
This might be a time to consider travel insurance with CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) if there are any expensive non-refundables, which would at least give 75% back. But that coverage usually needs to be started at the time the first payment/deposit is made.

We get CFAR for different reasons, although when there was some unrest elsewhere a few years ago, we realized that it was also nice to know that we could cancel if the "only" problem was that we might be or feel unsafe.
(We've never used CFAR yet. We've had several cancellations/interruptions of major trips, but all were for covered reasons, unfortunately.)

GC
That’s a good idea and there are some cheap ones but I think you need to cancel before the trip, not after arrival
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Old Nov 17, 19, 1:53 pm
  #164  
 
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Originally Posted by Cryofern View Post
There seems to be some sort of music festival called "Clockenflap" that particular weekend in the "Central Harbourfront Event Space"
An October 22 official tweet says "We’d like to dispel any rumours – Clockenflap 2019 is full steam ahead!"
Realistic?
Clockenflap was cancelled the day after you posted....
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Old Nov 17, 19, 2:03 pm
  #165  
 
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
At the moment, I'd say the situation this week depends on whether the on-going conflict at the Polytechnic can be resolved without bloodshed. It's that serious.
Speaking of this, such an eerie coincidence, today is the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising of November 1973, which ended with a brutal suppression and tanks crashing through the university gates and 34 protestors dead, which led to the fall of the dictatorship in Greece.
https://greekcitytimes.com/2018/11/1...e-polytechnic/

Last edited by nk15; Nov 17, 19 at 2:11 pm
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