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 Nov 1, 19, 3:43 pm
  #76  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: South Bend, IN
Programs: AA EXP 3 MM; Marriott Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium Elite
Posts: 17,673
Is there a left luggage facility at the airport? If so, I'd do that so as not to run the risk of it being stuck at Kowloon. If you can do that, just buy a one-way on the Airport Express and determine your options for the return based on the actual situation on the ground.

Also, are you doing this on a weekend or weekday. If on a weekday, the chances of a disruption are much lower. Not zero, mind you, but much lower.
PresRDC is offline  
Old Nov 1, 19, 6:32 pm
  #77  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 461
Originally Posted by PresRDC View Post
Is there a left luggage facility at the airport? If so, I'd do that so as not to run the risk of it being stuck at Kowloon. If you can do that, just buy a one-way on the Airport Express and determine your options for the return based on the actual situation on the ground.

Also, are you doing this on a weekend or weekday. If on a weekday, the chances of a disruption are much lower. Not zero, mind you, but much lower.
Won't necessary be 'stuck', still have MTR to Tung Chung (hopefully) and S1 bus if worse comes to worst
With vouchers - I can still always use the 2nd portion at a later time / later trip.
With Octopus - one-way and 'same day return' would still be the same price regardless.

I'm just wondering in these "special circumstances", if they would accommodate an "open jaw" of different stations (HK Station). Or if one can pay a small difference in fare.
JordanWalker is offline  
Old Nov 1, 19, 6:49 pm
  #78  
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: 12,165
Originally Posted by JordanWalker View Post
I'm wondering what happens if I buy roundtrip AE vouchers from Airport<->Kowloon
(such as CX duty free's, klook, travel agency's)
You may be able to request a refund if unused.

Originally Posted by JordanWalker View Post
If they do decide to not stop at Tsing Yi + Kowloon stations, can my vouchers be used all the way to HK Station?
Originally Posted by JordanWalker View Post
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?
No. At the minimum, not without fare difference..

Originally Posted by JordanWalker View Post
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?
That's a definitively no.

Bottom line - don't make any plans associated with Kowloon Station for now.
garykung is online now  
Old Nov 2, 19, 9:39 pm
  #79  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 28,350
100% agree do not make any plan with any Airport Express station other than the HK station due to the uncertainty.

Also dont count on the MTR stations open. The services generally stop at 10pm but stations at hot spots especially during weekends, can be closed a good part of the day or suddenly close.

I dont know a 7 hours transit these days are worthwhile to head out to town and then back - because

1) the transportation can be iffy. if several MTR stations closed and then you need to take the A bus, then you will be subj to road traffic.

2) you may face a long queue to enter the airport departure hall upon return. Only people have same day departure proof and proper ID can enter - but the checking is done manually. So it depends on what time of the day, for how long the line / wait could be.

On our recent departure of a 9:50 flight, we arrived the entrance about 7:45, still had to wait about 10 min to finally get inside even though I could see there were no more than 10 people waiting to go thru.
Happy is offline  
Old Nov 2, 19, 11:50 pm
  #80  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 2,528
Not that I'd suggest anyone go to these extremes, but for next day early mornings flights I simply can't miss, I just head to the airport during the late evenings the night before and spend the night at the airport. In between the CX lounges, I'll just head to the PP 24 hour lounge near the Amex Centurion and do some work. It's quiet with people sleeping instead of talking on their phones and with endless supply of Watson's tonic water as a bonus.

It helps that I'm generally a night owl and can't fall asleep until around 3 or 4 am anyway, which works out perfect because the PP clerk will wake me up in 3 hours to run my card again. Perfect! A wake up call without having to even pay someone for the service.
Cryofern likes this.
Visconti is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 1:06 pm
  #81  
rjh
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Berkeley, CA USA
Programs: Kam Leng; Two Dragons GH
Posts: 1,588
8. 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.
Ok, based on two recent transit only experiences I believe this text is stronger than needed. My proposal:
8. TRANSIT HKG at AIRPORT AIRSIDE:
Generally not an issue and all services, including shops and lounges, are operating normally while remaining airside. No additional security. No need to go landside.

There has been disruption in the past and it may happen again, but as of this writing there is no reason to avoid HKG for transit, while airside only.
rjh is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 1:43 pm
  #82  
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: London UK
Programs: BAEC Silver
Posts: 2,337
Oh. Damn. I'm in HKG from 21st to 26th November, and again overnight on December 4th!!
Cris L is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 3:59 pm
  #83  
889
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2,653
This all falls in the who-really-knows category.

But I think it's valid and relevant to observe that when making a decision among a variety of options, the Government has tended to pick one which makes the situation worse, not better.
kevincrumbs likes this.
889 is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 4:01 pm
  #84  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Portland, OR, United States
Programs: CX Marco Polo Green (hahaha)
Posts: 1,317
Originally Posted by rjh View Post
8. TRANSIT HKG at AIRPORT AIRSIDE:
Generally not an issue and all services, including shops and lounges, are operating normally while remaining airside. No additional security. No need to go landside.

There has been disruption in the past and it may happen again, but as of this writing there is no reason to avoid HKG for transit, while airside only.
I think for airside even the word "generally" gives an impression that while rare, something may/could happen. The reality is that nothing has happened to disrupt airside to airside connections, as far as I'm aware. IMHO dropping "generally" is a better reflection of the situation.
kevincrumbs is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 4:24 pm
  #85  
889
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2,653
It's not an issue for the airside area itself, but if truly serious problems at the airport were to return there might be flight cancellations -- especially CX-group regional flights -- and that could affect connecting passengers.
889 is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 4:58 pm
  #86  
Marriott 5+ BadgeHyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: SIN & HKG • Ex SFO, NYC
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP; Marriott Amb; Hyatt Globalist; Shangri-la Diamond; IHG SpireAmb; Hilton D; Accor G
Posts: 3,304
There's no reason to believe there will be any issues connecting. The new security measures put in place have prevented that effectively. There haven't been any airport issues in months.
helvetic is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 5:18 pm
  #87  
889
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2,653
Anyone who uber-confidently predicts what's going to be happening the next few months in Hong Kong is either very brave or very dumb. Nobody but nobody knows.
889 is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 5:54 pm
  #88  
rjh
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Berkeley, CA USA
Programs: Kam Leng; Two Dragons GH
Posts: 1,588
On airside connections:
I tried to balance between "nothing will ever happen" and "it's really a crapshoot." Adding "generally" seemed to be the best compromise.
rjh is offline  
Old Nov 7, 19, 8:48 pm
  #89  
889
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2,653
The death of the HKUST student today Friday is distressing, and will impact the situation on the streets this weekend and perhaps beyond.
889 is offline  
Old Nov 8, 19, 12:52 am
  #90  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: CX
Posts: 1,888
Originally Posted by 889 View Post
The death of the HKUST student today Friday is distressing, and will impact the situation on the streets this weekend and perhaps beyond.
Indeed. Flash mobs have resulted in some serious congestion in Central and Admiralty at lunch today. I believe weekend protest plans will be formulated and published soon..
CX HK is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: