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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
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
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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.

DeclaimerĖ 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 Ė 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 countryís 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 23, 19, 3:12 am
  #61  
889
 
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Airport Express service is subject to sudden change, especially skipping Kowloon Station. Just this past Sunday, for example, the Airport Express skipped Kowloon Station and Tsing Yi after 1pm.

Let's also add that when there are adjustments, the MTR does not usually post signs. Instead, they make announcements in Chinese and English throughout all the stations. However, the acoustics of the stations are so bad, the announcements are practically unintelligible.

EDIT: Right on schedule as if to prove the point, the MTR has announced that tomorrow, Thursday, the Airport Express will run only between Hong Kong Station and the Airport starting from 1pm. And no check-in service at Kowloon Station all day tomorrow. (This is not posted on the MTR site but on Mingbao.)

Last edited by 889; Oct 23, 19 at 8:46 am
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Old Oct 23, 19, 1:41 pm
  #62  
 
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HKG to Shekou by Ferry

Thanks Gary for starting this thread (or later wiki).

I have an upcoming transit (air side) from HKG to Shekou by ferry. Has this service ever been affected recently? How/where could I get "alert" or up-to-minute status update?

Thank you!

FTers in HK, stay safe!
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Old Oct 25, 19, 1:00 am
  #63  
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Originally Posted by allset2travel View Post
I have an upcoming transit (air side) from HKG to Shekou by ferry. Has this service ever been affected recently? How/where could I get "alert" or up-to-minute status update?
The service has not been affected. I believe the only day it was affected was the day HKG got shut down.

I don't believe CKS has live update. But the rule of thumb of any HKG ferries is they won't sell you a ticket unless they are certain the ferries can depart. So if you have a ticket, the chance will be good.
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Old Oct 25, 19, 2:00 am
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Latest Airport Express schedule (from https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/compone...3-20191025.htm):

[font]The Airport Express will run as normal until 11pm, though the in-town check-in at Kowloon Station will end an hour before.[/font]

[font]After 11pm, the Airport Express will only stop at Hong Kong Station and Airport Station.[/font]

[font]In-town check-in at Hong Kong Station will remain as normal, though the MTR says passengers should check-in their luggage at least 90 minutes before their scheduled flight times.[/font]
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Old Oct 25, 19, 8:00 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
The service has not been affected. I believe the only day it was affected was the day HKG got shut down.

I don't believe CKS has live update. But the rule of thumb of any HKG ferries is they won't sell you a ticket unless they are certain the ferries can depart. So if you have a ticket, the chance will be good.
Thanks Gary.
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Old Oct 26, 19, 1:08 am
  #66  
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There is now an injunction in effect prohibiting among many other things, "using, publishing, communicating or disclosing to any other person the personal data of and concerning any police officer(s). Such data includes but is not limited to . . . any photograph of the police officer(s) . . . without the consent of the police officer(s) . . ."

While the act of photographing police in and of itself may or may not be covered by the injunction, be cautious nonetheless and do not take photographs in Hong Kong that include the police. In any event posts on social media, even emails, including photographs that identify police officers seem pretty clearly within the ambit of the injunction. So if you have photographs that identify police officers, do not post or email or otherwise distribute them.

This is an interim injunction in effect until November 8, but no doubt there will be attempts to extend it.

https://www.news.gov.hk/eng/2019/10/...00243_207.html

EDIT: But note that news outlets like Mingbao, even the government broadcaster RTHK, are continuing to publish photos clearly identifying police officers,

Last edited by 889; Oct 27, 19 at 12:48 am
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Old Oct 28, 19, 6:06 pm
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
There is now an injunction in effect prohibiting among many other things, "using, publishing, communicating or disclosing to any other person the personal data of and concerning any police officer(s). Such data includes but is not limited to . . . any photograph of the police officer(s) . . . without the consent of the police officer(s) . . ."

While the act of photographing police in and of itself may or may not be covered by the injunction, be cautious nonetheless and do not take photographs in Hong Kong that include the police. In any event posts on social media, even emails, including photographs that identify police officers seem pretty clearly within the ambit of the injunction. So if you have photographs that identify police officers, do not post or email or otherwise distribute them.

This is an interim injunction in effect until November 8, but no doubt there will be attempts to extend it.

https://www.news.gov.hk/eng/2019/10/...00243_207.html

EDIT: But note that news outlets like Mingbao, even the government broadcaster RTHK, are continuing to publish photos clearly identifying police officers,
Thatís a very helpful point, thanks.
Weíre spending 5 nights in the city in a couple of weeks time, and Iím a keen street photographer so Iíll be careful where Iím aiming.
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Old Oct 28, 19, 8:12 pm
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Originally Posted by DrMarkMicro View Post
Thatís a very helpful point, thanks.
Weíre spending 5 nights in the city in a couple of weeks time, and Iím a keen street photographer so Iíll be careful where Iím aiming.
The High Court of Hong Kong has clarified what the injunction means, and in essence it only restricts actions that are "intended or likely to intimidate, molest, harass, threaten, pester or interfere with" the police. This narrows the scope of the injunction and hence you should be fine.

In addition, a full hearing will be held on 8 Nov, likely before you arrive, and the scope and circumstances of the injunction are likely to be further clarified - and further narrowed.

https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/compone...0-20191029.htm
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Old Oct 29, 19, 6:53 am
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Hi all,
I'm scheduled to arrive HKG at 6am on Wednesday, 11/20, and depart Friday 11/22 at noon. I know that elections are currently scheduled for Sunday 11/24 and I have read that they may be postponed, leading to even more protests. Would anyone like to speculate on the likelihood of my travel being disrupted? I know that none of us have a crystal ball, but I am wondering. Thank you!
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Old Oct 29, 19, 12:32 pm
  #70  
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Originally Posted by JNelson113 View Post
I'm scheduled to arrive HKG at 6am on Wednesday, 11/20, and depart Friday 11/22 at noon. I know that elections are currently scheduled for Sunday 11/24 and I have read that they may be postponed, leading to even more protests. Would anyone like to speculate on the likelihood of my travel being disrupted?
Unlikely.

Based on historical development, if the DC election would be postponed as speculated, any troubles associated with it would have happened same or next few days after the announcement.

The closer the election date, the less chance the election be postpone.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 7:11 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Unlikely.

Based on historical development, if the DC election would be postponed as speculated, any troubles associated with it would have happened same or next few days after the announcement.

The closer the election date, the less chance the election be postpone.
Thank you greatly.

Normally I wouldn't be so nervous about potentially being stuck in HK, but have a family cruise departing from Florida on 11/24, so do need to make it back.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 8:21 am
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If we’re going to arrive at HKG 3pm of Saturday and depart 8am on Sunday, can we still go to the city to have dinner and do a little shopping? I think I’ll book a hotel near the airport for the early morning departure.
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Old Oct 30, 19, 6:39 pm
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Originally Posted by boybi View Post
If weíre going to arrive at HKG 3pm of Saturday and depart 8am on Sunday, can we still go to the city to have dinner and do a little shopping? I think Iíll book a hotel near the airport for the early morning departure.
Based on the past couple of weeks, Sundays have been the issue, you would have been OK on Saturday the past 2 weeks. BUT it is changeable and unpredictable.

I came in by HSR this past Saturday, no issues. I never stay by the airport but I did stay at the Marriott SkyCity just to play it safe, and there were no issues. I was also pleasantly surprised at how nice the Marriott is, I recommend it.
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Old Oct 31, 19, 8:57 am
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Novotel Citygate is also very good. I can recommend it based on 10+ stays over the last couple years. Staff is exception (I am Platinum - may make a slight difference, but I suspect not in overall attitude and helpfulness). I plan on booking there for my next overnight and talking with staff as to advisability of going into Hong Kong for the evening. My traveling contacts tell me that hotels all over HK are doing a fine job of keeping guests informed as to current protest plans and activity - if you stop to discuss it. Buses and taxis are running.
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Old Nov 1, 19, 1:49 pm
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Airport Express - incase of closure

Have an upcoming trip that connect longhaul to shorthaul CX with 7 hours transit.
Planning to drop some luggage off at Kowloon Station.

However, with the current situation, the AE often does not stop at Kowloon Station after 12pm/2pm.
And usually that does not get announced until the day of.

I'm wondering what happens if I buy roundtrip AE vouchers from Airport<->Kowloon
(such as CX duty free's, klook, travel agency's)

If they do decide to not stop at Tsing Yi + Kowloon stations, can my vouchers be used all the way to HK Station?
What if I successfully take Airport->Kowloon in the morning, and then they ended up not stopping at Kowloon Station in the afternoon.
Can I board from Hong Kong station -> Airport with my return trip voucher?

What if this was done on an Octopus? Will they honour the "same day return" pricing if there was an "open jaw" of different stations?

Thanks
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