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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 17, 19, 6:01 pm
  #46  
 
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I arrived in HK yesterday and my hotel (Eaton in Yau Ma Tei) has left a note on the desk starting "You are in Hong Kong during turbulent times"., offering numerous suggestions as to where/when not to go and useful alternatives. There seem to be quite a few obvious tourists about, but much fewer than usual to my observation.
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Old Oct 17, 19, 6:23 pm
  #47  
 
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Originally Posted by whughes3 View Post
I arrived in HK yesterday and my hotel (Eaton in Yau Ma Tei) has left a note on the desk starting "You are in Hong Kong during turbulent times"., offering numerous suggestions as to where/when not to go and useful alternatives. There seem to be quite a few obvious tourists about, but much fewer than usual to my observation.
Like under the desk, in the closet, and other defensive sites.
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Old Oct 17, 19, 6:25 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
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..
Green would work, Go Saskatchewan Roughriders! on it plus, I'm A Tourist, Please Don't Gas Me, Thanks. Maybe I can get that put on a vest I can carry when not near rioters. Then put it on, reverse my route and skedaddle.

And I am an obvious non-Chinese looking dude.
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Old Oct 17, 19, 6:49 pm
  #49  
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Walking around the streets of Hong Kong these days with a slogan in simplified Chinese characters on your T-shirt as suggested above is not really a good idea. (Besides, "tear gas" is normally written 催淚煙, or if you want to be cool, just "tg".)
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Old Oct 20, 19, 7:44 am
  #50  
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What are actually the best sources about areas where the protests are? I assume Google Maps is relatively good updated?
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Old Oct 20, 19, 8:29 am
  #51  
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To repeat what's been posted here before, hkmap.live is probably the best up-to-the-minute map of trouble spots, but the legends are in Chinese. Nonetheless you can use it as a guide to troubled areas: where there's a big congregation of symbols there's probably trouble, but scattered symbols are probably just reports of police sightings and such. A little white cloud means tear gas, a small coloured flag means police have given a warning and are about to move in, blue water drops mean . . . well you can figure it out.

When there's active trouble, papers like Mingbao run a minute-by-minute update, and Google Translate will put it into reasonable English. SCMP does this in English, but not so completely.
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Last edited by 889; Oct 20, 19 at 11:21 pm
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Old Oct 20, 19, 11:16 pm
  #52  
 
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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
You probably want to have that written in traditional characters as opposed to the simplified characters (which are used and associated with the PRC)
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Old Oct 21, 19, 9:20 am
  #53  
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Proposed addition (I don't have direct knowledge):
#. Should I use HKG for a connection, if I'm not planning to go landside?
Can I change terminals as usual?
What about lounges?
Are they fully staffed with normal amenities?
==============================
HKG is currently satisfactory as a connection, staying airside.

You can change terminals as usual.

Lounges are open.

Lounges are normally staffed with the usual amenities.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 5:19 am
  #54  
 
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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
not sure how this will help when police fire tear gas, rubber bullets to the press.
if you don't want to taste all you can it expired tear gas. Stay away from protest area.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 6:35 am
  #55  
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I'd like to highlight a couple of issues with the Wiki as it stands (yes, I could edit it, but Garykung would just edit it back)...

1)
a. Best Mart 360
b. China Travel Service's Entry Permit Service Centres
c. Chinese* banks' facilities - ATMs and branches
d. Government buildings named "Government Offices"
e. Maxim's operated locations
f. MTR facilities - MTR Stations, Malls, etc.
g. Police stations
h. Immediate vicinity (Within 10-15 minutes of walking distance) of the locations above
{...}
Unless necessary, these area should be avoided as much as possible.
The problem with this is that 10-15 mins walk of any of the above excludes the entire urban area area of the HKSAR. 10-15mins brisk walk is 800-1200m. It's way too big an exclusion zone. Even if you said not within 300m of any of the above I guess you would still exclude 80% of the urban area. So it's a meaningless injunction.

As a MTR's service, Airport Express is also significantly impacted, please plan carefully if you intend to travel with Airport Express from/to HKG or use the in-town check-in at Hong Kong/Kowloon Station. The use of Airport Express, due to its service irregularity, is NOT RECOMMENDED.
This is excessive. There is almost never any issue with the Airport Express from all stations before, say, 3pm. People travelling in the morning are extremely unlikely to encounter any difficulties. And the service to HK Station has run as normal up until its normal last service on at least 95% of days in the last 4.5 months.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 10:58 am
  #56  
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Originally Posted by rjh View Post
Proposed addition (I don't have direct knowledge):
#. Should I use HKG for a connection, if I'm not planning to go landside?
Can I change terminals as usual?
What about lounges?
Are they fully staffed with normal amenities?
==============================
HKG is currently satisfactory as a connection, staying airside.

You can change terminals as usual.

Lounges are open.

Lounges are normally staffed with the usual amenities.
HKG was once impacted by the civil unrest and has been shut down for a day. Because of this only occurrence, I am not inclined to say that as threats to HKG still continue to appear occasionally.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 11:14 am
  #57  
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Originally Posted by christep View Post
I'd like to highlight a couple of issues with the Wiki as it stands (yes, I could edit it, but Garykung would just edit it back)...
Don't make me sound like an authoritarian...

Originally Posted by christep View Post
The problem with this is that 10-15 mins walk of any of the above excludes the entire urban area area of the HKSAR.
For the record, I did not establish an exclusion zone in Hong Kong. I merely mention that these are the area you should avoid (See Q&As 5 and 6).

While I drafted this initially, I understand the avoidance areas are big. But indeed, based on the historical development, many confrontations appeared to be occurred within 10-15 minutes from the most of the POIs I mentioned. I also considered naming the impacted areas individually. But they would be either too small or too big. Hence, the current structure.

Using "minutes" instead of units like km/m/mi/etc. is for the ease to measure.

Originally Posted by christep View Post
This is excessive.
Airport Express is not in full service, which it currently serves Hong Kong and Airport only. Its service is subject to change daily. I would not consider this as a reliable service especially service to Kowloon Station is still suspended.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 11:16 am
  #58  
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
HKG was once impacted by the civil unrest and has been shut down for a day. Because of this only occurrence, I am not inclined to say that as threats to HKG still continue to appear occasionally.
I guess it's a question of frequency since weather or things like massive power failure can also occur disrupting connections. Also, in this case, the authorities seem to have mitigated the chance of a repeat shutdown.

Can we add an item with some additional cautionary language? The fact that airlines aren't granting general rebooking waivers shows to me that HKG is at least ok as a connection, pending other developments.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 11:19 am
  #59  
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Per your suggestions, the Wiki has been edited accordingly.

I have toned down some languages that some may disagree.

Last edited by garykung; Oct 22, 19 at 6:32 pm
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Old Oct 23, 19, 1:55 am
  #60  
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Airport Express is not in full service, which it currently serves Hong Kong and Airport only. Its service is subject to change daily. I would not consider this as a reliable service especially service to Kowloon Station is still suspended.
Service to Kowloon Station is completely normal right through the day until mid/late-evening. Today, for example, service from Kowloon Station will be suspended at 10pm, but it is normal before that.
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