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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 Oct 10, 19, 8:27 am
  #16  
TA
 
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Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
I beg to differ as the Kowloon station on the AEx has bee closed many times, especially in the evenings where Hong Kong station has remained open.
I meant that if it comes to having to find a taxi or bus that can actually get to the airport if other transport is shut down (or simply first get to the highway from local streets), probably more likely to succeed if already on Kowloon side. If AEX is to be shut down, then given the increasing severity of the shutdown lately, neither HK side or Kowloon side would help.
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Old Oct 10, 19, 8:45 am
  #17  
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The Airport Express seems to be the MTR's #1 priority for keeping open. It's the only line running as I type (at 22:45L), for example, and all is normal, including in-town check-in.
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Old Oct 10, 19, 9:37 am
  #18  
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Originally Posted by carrotjuice View Post
I arrive mid day on a Sunday and depart around midnight. So almost 12 full hours in HK on a Sunday when most of the protests would proliferate?
The last two Sundays trouble started around noon-time.

If the inside ferry to Macao schedule fits your plans that would be an option,
If not, then the other viable option would be the Big Buddha.

Last edited by tentseller; Oct 10, 19 at 10:00 am
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Old Oct 10, 19, 10:03 am
  #19  
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No, all wasn't normal on the AE at 22:45 Thursday as you typed: trains were not stopping at Kowloon, Tsing Yi and AsiaWorld-Expo stations Thursday evening.
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Old Oct 10, 19, 10:20 am
  #20  
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OK, I may be wrong, but I see an announcement issued at 00:15L on 11/10 saying that it is now HK and the airport only. Maybe there was a previous announcement.

And this is just pure ........ by the MTR/police/AA.
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Old Oct 10, 19, 10:54 am
  #21  
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They announced Thursday evening that service would be restricted from 9pm on the AE.
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Old Oct 10, 19, 11:02 am
  #22  
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OK, I stand corrected.

But I fail to see any rational justification.
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Old Oct 11, 19, 2:02 pm
  #23  
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Learn how to use a bus.

I suggest downloading the following apps: Google Maps, KMB, New World Bus / First Bus
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Old Oct 12, 19, 3:42 pm
  #24  
 
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Similar situation next weekend - arriving Saturday 19:00, leaving Sunday either 16:00 or 22:00 (and trying to decide!).

Booked at the Marriott by the airport as a precaution, but would like to go into town on Sunday... heading back to the airport around 17:00 if taking the 22:00 flight, to have a lot of buffer.

Do you have any ideas?
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Old Oct 12, 19, 7:14 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by BA6501 View Post
Similar situation next weekend - arriving Saturday 19:00, leaving Sunday either 16:00 or 22:00 (and trying to decide!).

Booked at the Marriott by the airport as a precaution, but would like to go into town on Sunday... heading back to the airport around 17:00 if taking the 22:00 flight, to have a lot of buffer.

Do you have any ideas?
Nobody will know until day of, but generally speaking, Sunday afternoons have been the worst for violent protests in recent weeks (but it is impossible to say where the mayhem will take place and how bad it will be). However, protesters seem to be late risers, and there's rarely any action before noon, so if you were to take the 16:00 flight (and head to the airport around 13:00) you'd in all likelihood be fine. Even with the later flight, you'd probably be fine, as the MTR seems to work hard to keep the Airport Express running from HK station. And there are taxis and bus options. I don't think another complete airport blockade is likely.
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Old Oct 12, 19, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by BA6501 View Post
Similar situation next weekend - arriving Saturday 19:00, leaving Sunday either 16:00 or 22:00 (and trying to decide!).

Booked at the Marriott by the airport as a precaution, but would like to go into town on Sunday... heading back to the airport around 17:00 if taking the 22:00 flight, to have a lot of buffer.

Do you have any ideas?
I would take the 1600 flight and just stay at the Marriott for the whole time.
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Old Oct 12, 19, 10:53 pm
  #27  
 
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This thread is really useful for me too and I will keep monitoring it. In 4 weeks time Ms G50 and I will arrive at 14:50 and depart at 23:45 on a Saturday. We would rather spend our time in town but have exactly the same concerns as the OP.
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Old Oct 13, 19, 7:12 am
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by jpdx View Post
Nobody will know until day of, but generally speaking, Sunday afternoons have been the worst for violent protests in recent weeks (but it is impossible to say where the mayhem will take place and how bad it will be). However, protesters seem to be late risers, and there's rarely any action before noon, so if you were to take the 16:00 flight (and head to the airport around 13:00) you'd in all likelihood be fine. Even with the later flight, you'd probably be fine, as the MTR seems to work hard to keep the Airport Express running from HK station. And there are taxis and bus options. I don't think another complete airport blockade is likely.
Thanks! Alternatively, do you have any advice re. Lantau Island?
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Old Oct 14, 19, 8:13 am
  #29  
 
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Airport Express at 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday?

As subject line indicates, I will arrive at HKG early on a Sunday morning. Can I count on Airport Express functioning normally or should I book an expensive hotel car?

(I know the situation varies daily/weekly. Just trying to gauge somewhat what my options are.)
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Old Oct 14, 19, 8:18 am
  #30  
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Yes, 90% likely that it will be running, and if not then you can always get a taxi for far less money than a hotel car.
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