Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Hong Kong and Macau
Reload this Page >

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

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

    Hide Wikipost
Old May 23, 20, 3:28 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: garykung
Wiki Link
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.
Print Wikipost

Old Oct 14, 19, 8:23 am
  #31  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,202
Originally Posted by christep View Post
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.
Thanks! Will take a "wait and see" approach.
bamboola is offline  
Old Oct 14, 19, 11:49 am
  #32  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ZOA, SFO, HKG
Programs: UA 1K 0.9MM, Marriott Gold, HHonors Gold, Hertz PC, SBux Gold, TSA Pre✓
Posts: 12,141
Originally Posted by bamboola View Post
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.)
Assume no.

Sometimes, Airport Express may suspend all service once and for all even things are fine (for now). Because Sunday is a hot day, so Airport Express's service will be impacted. It is only a matter of how and when.
garykung is offline  
Old Oct 15, 19, 5:44 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: YVR/HND/NRT/HKG
Programs: ANA Diamond
Posts: 126
I need to drop by HK for a weekend sometime in November to sign some documents. Gonna arrive early on a Friday morning and leave on a Sunday afternoon. I understand that this is the worst time to go to HK, and that elections are also occurring at the end of November, but what are the chances that I can avoid any trouble? I would prefer to get advice from locals/people who are actually Asian, since these are the people who would have the highest chance of actually experiencing danger. If I hire a chauffeur and stay on the Kowloon side there's almost no chance of me getting involved with any disturbances right?
ETHFlyer is offline  
Old Oct 15, 19, 8:48 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Programs: CX, BA
Posts: 78
Originally Posted by ETHFlyer View Post
I need to drop by HK for a weekend sometime in November to sign some documents. Gonna arrive early on a Friday morning and leave on a Sunday afternoon. I understand that this is the worst time to go to HK, and that elections are also occurring at the end of November, but what are the chances that I can avoid any trouble? I would prefer to get advice from locals/people who are actually Asian, since these are the people who would have the highest chance of actually experiencing danger. If I hire a chauffeur and stay on the Kowloon side there's almost no chance of me getting involved with any disturbances right?
Maybe I don't qualify - white / british / 15 years HK / 12 China?

If you were to be in the thick of any demonstration / riot, wearing a mask and hat - and maybe black T - your creed or colour will not be studied before you could be attacked.......................................... ..................

But, visiting Island or Kowloon during the weekend under current situation could lead to being very close to a trouble spot, road block, or worse. However, as everyone will tell you, predicting the situation 2 hours in advance is very difficult, even more so for a month in advance.

Using a car to get around could potentially delay your movements due to gridlock that has been occurring during recent events (road blocks / marches etc) and under current circumstances and if they continue, then you will need to review just before you travel.

If you could sign your documents during a weekday, I would estimate your potential delay factor would be reduced by 80%.

TST but even more so Mong Kok, are potential flash points - Mong Kok police station almost nightly.

Hope this is helpful, but maybe a more local Asian could help you even more.

Good luck with your arrangements and keep safe.
EMIC is offline  
Old Oct 16, 19, 12:11 am
  #35  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ZOA, SFO, HKG
Programs: UA 1K 0.9MM, Marriott Gold, HHonors Gold, Hertz PC, SBux Gold, TSA Pre✓
Posts: 12,141
Originally Posted by ETHFlyer View Post
I need to drop by HK for a weekend sometime in November to sign some documents.
Can you use a notary?
garykung is offline  
Old Oct 16, 19, 1:00 am
  #36  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYZ/MGA
Programs: AA 1MM Lifetime Gold, AA Platinum, WS Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 7,601
Originally Posted by christep View Post
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.
Maybe 90% if you mean running from HK Station but they seem to have Kowloon AE closed more often than open lately which for me is a pain.

You can follow SCMP for their live coverage when the incidents are going on. I note the incidents tend to start after lunch and end around 11 p.m. Not a rule but SCMP ends coverage around 11 p.m. when things seem to clear out.

I was planning to come to visit, and work around the protestors' schedule with an early arrival and an assumption that if I stayed in Kowloon, I'd have to taxi and from to HK Station to catch the AE at its one stop. Just before noon. Or stay at the Regal HKIA the night before a flight behind the sandbags and security detail.

And maybe not arrive on Saturday or Sunday despite the taxi being less busy.

There is a big Chinatown where I live. I wonder if I could get someone there to paint "tourist" in Chinese on the front and back of a T-shirt worn outdoors.
ricktoronto is offline  
Old Oct 16, 19, 1:15 am
  #37  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ZOA, SFO, HKG
Programs: UA 1K 0.9MM, Marriott Gold, HHonors Gold, Hertz PC, SBux Gold, TSA Pre✓
Posts: 12,141
Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
I wonder if I could get someone there to paint "tourist" in Chinese on the front and back of a T-shirt worn outdoors.
Choosing appropriate top clothing is better than the wording on the t-shirt.
garykung is offline  
Old Oct 16, 19, 1:17 am
  #38  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: None any more
Posts: 11,015
Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
Maybe 90% if you mean running from HK Station but they seem to have Kowloon AE closed more often than open lately which for me is a pain.
I haven't been tracking it rigorously, but at 7am (which was the question I was responding to) I can only recall one or two days when Kowloon AE station wasn't open. From mid-afternoon onwards, yes closure is more likely.

Last edited by christep; Oct 21, 19 at 6:28 am
christep is offline  
Old Oct 16, 19, 1:18 am
  #39  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYZ/MGA
Programs: AA 1MM Lifetime Gold, AA Platinum, WS Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 7,601
Maybe this in large letters on a white shirt

游客
请不要在我身上喷催泪瓦斯
谢谢

Last edited by ricktoronto; Oct 16, 19 at 1:30 am
ricktoronto is offline  
Old Oct 16, 19, 1:27 am
  #40  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYZ/MGA
Programs: AA 1MM Lifetime Gold, AA Platinum, WS Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold
Posts: 7,601
Originally Posted by christep View Post
I haved been tracking it rigorously, but at 7am (which was the question I was responding to) I can only recall one or two days when Kowloon AE station wasn't open. From mid-afternoon onwards, yes closure is more likely.
It was closed along with Tsing Yi and Asia World 17 hours ago according to this unofficial MTR advisory twitter page, but it's all green now. I think almost every recent weekend when things were hairy these particular AE stations closed unless it was when the whole operation was shut down, when of course nothing was open.

https://twitter.com/mtrupdate . Worth having that link in your twitter saved list.

I know many of the protestors are students so not getting up until after noon is not unusual.

I usually fly out at 10:30 am so I'd likely go to the Regal just to hedge my bets. My usual hotel is being kind of stingy with the discounts vs. much bigger and better hotels.
ricktoronto is offline  
Old Oct 16, 19, 1:31 am
  #41  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: None any more
Posts: 11,015
Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
It was closed along with Tsing Yi and Asia World 17 hours ago according to this unofficial MTR advisory twitter page, but it's all green now. I think almost every recent weekend when things were hairy these particular AE stations closed unless it was when the whole operation was shut down, when of course nothing was open.

https://twitter.com/mtrupdate . Worth having that link in your twitter saved list.
Indeed - 17 hours ago was at 10pm local time. Kowloon and Tsing Yi AE stations have generally been shutting at that time. Sometimes earlier on weekends. But at 7am they are almost always functioning as normal!
christep is offline  
Old Oct 16, 19, 7:55 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 5
follow
SQwarrior is offline  
Old Oct 17, 19, 5:26 am
  #43  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Earth. Residency:HKG formerly:YYZ Business: ATL, PVG, PEK, CAN, SZX, MNL, SIN, KUL, BKK, SGN, CPT, UIO
Programs: CX, DL, Nexus/GE, APEC
Posts: 10,183
Originally Posted by ricktoronto View Post
Maybe this in large letters on a white shirt

游客
请不要在我身上喷催泪瓦斯
谢谢
Colour to stay away from: black white yellow and blue.

This is one situation where it is good as a non-Chinese looking dude to not to blend in..

Last edited by tentseller; Oct 17, 19 at 5:40 am
tentseller is offline  
Old Oct 17, 19, 8:55 am
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ORD (formerly SAN)
Programs: Hilton Diamond; IHG Spire; AA Gold and free agent (DH = AA EXP)
Posts: 1,755
Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
Colour to stay away from: black white yellow and blue.
That is a lot of colors to avoid. What are the yellow and blue for? Is grey okay? Time to go shopping!
TravelLawyer is offline  
Old Oct 17, 19, 10:11 am
  #45  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Portland, OR, United States
Programs: CX Marco Polo Green (hahaha)
Posts: 1,317
Originally Posted by TravelLawyer View Post
That is a lot of colors to avoid. What are the yellow and blue for? Is grey okay? Time to go shopping!
Yellow - From the original Umbrella Movement/Revolution a few years ago. Pro-democracy/more autonomy for HK
Blue - In support for the HK police. There have also been pro-PRC people wearing blue shirts with Chinese "I Love Hong Kong" text on it
kevincrumbs is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: