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 9, 19, 1:33 am
  #1  
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
Hong Kong Civil Unrest - Survival Guide Q&As (Flame Free)

After reviews, as the OP, I believe it is best to put this in the Wiki, so people can edit the content as necessary.

Please keep in mind - this is intended to help. So no flame.

Thanks.

Last edited by garykung; Oct 9, 19 at 2:37 pm Reason: Promote open-editing
garykung is online now  
Old Oct 9, 19, 2:12 am
  #2  
889
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2,653
As I mentioned before, the hkmap.live app is a good resource for identifying current trouble spots. The notes are in Chinese, but all you really have to know is steer clear of areas with lots of clustered symbols. (Scattered symbols don't usually mean trouble, just the current location of police vehicles.)

It's available for Android and, for the time being at least, Apple.

The Twitter MTR Update account shows MTR status, though it can be a bit hard to follow.

ATMs have sometimes run short of cash. Normally not much cash is needed at all in HK given the acceptance of cards of various sorts. But most taxis don't take cards, and if you want to move out quickly from an area you might have to grab a taxi and pay whatever the driver demands, so best to be prepared and carry at least HK$300-$500.

There's been tear gas in various areas, and some residents are concerned about residues on fruits and vegetables coming from wholesale markets and shops in affected areas. Best to be safe and thoroughly wash stuff you buy.
TravelLawyer likes this.

Last edited by 889; Oct 9, 19 at 12:11 pm
889 is offline  
Old Oct 9, 19, 9:18 am
  #3  
TA
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: if it's Thursday, this must be Belgium
Programs: UA 1K MM
Posts: 6,209
I think you should add the dimension of time of day to many of the points above and emphasize it, so that people do not get the wrong idea. The notes above might lead someone to believe that the city is under 24 hour siege and need to avoid it like a war zone. But these events have been mostly limited to night time and weekends. Of course, that may change, but is generally true now.
TA is offline  
Old Oct 9, 19, 3:20 pm
  #4  
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 889 View Post
As I mentioned before, the hkmap.live app is a good resource for identifying current trouble spots.
I have made further editing. But I am on defense putting this app up to the Wiki.

This app could cause troubles to people going elsewhere. It may not be the best idea to suggest the app.
garykung is online now  
Old Oct 9, 19, 3:46 pm
  #5  
889
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2,653
The app is exceptionally useful in Hong Kong. We can't start censoring materials legal and useful in Hong Kong. This is especially so since avoiding troublesome areas comes down to a matter of personal safety.

But if you want to add a general caution about protest photos, news clippings, apps and such on devices taken across the border, that would be appropriate.

EDIT: The app is now not available for Apple, once again. But I'm afraid I was ignorant. You don't actually need the app: "hkmap.live" in your browser will bring up the map.

I'd strengthen the warning against protective gear. It's a very bad idea. Note that in evening police sometimes (but not too often) board buses at roadblocks and search passengers' possesions.

I'd also highlight more strongly the "No Photos!" warning. Taking photos of Lennon Walls say is fine, but not shots with people in the frame. Search youtube if you want videos.

I'd also suggest caution expressing yourself with strangers while in HK.

Last edited by 889; Oct 11, 19 at 9:54 am
889 is offline  
Old Oct 9, 19, 8:54 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Anywhere
Posts: 4,105
With protests... what to do for long weekend layovers?

For long CX layovers at HKIA over the weekends, what do people do nowadays amidst ground transportation uncertainty and MTR station closures caused by the current protests?

There’s so much lounge hopping that one can do, even if one scores a cabana can result in too much napping which can throw the circadian rhythm out of whack.

Head to Lantau Buddha?

Take the ferry to Macao?

The group that I’m travelling in are worried that we can’t get back to HKIA for our connecting flight. Is this a valid concern?
shocky likes this.
carrotjuice is offline  
Old Oct 9, 19, 8:59 pm
  #7  
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: 10,200
Originally Posted by carrotjuice View Post
For long CX layovers at HKIA over the weekends, what do people do nowadays amidst ground transportation uncertainty and MTR station closures caused by the current protests?

There’s so much lounge hopping that one can do, even if one scores a cabana can result in too much napping which can throw the circadian rhythm out of whack.

Head to Lantau Buddha?

Take the ferry to Macao?

The group that I’m travelling in are worried that we can’t get back to HKIA for our connecting flight. Is this a valid concern?
Yes, it is a valid concern if you are planning to go into the city, especially on a weekend.
We can give better suggestions if you share your arrival and departure days and times.

I think this would be better suited to the Hong Kong destination forum
tentseller is online now  
Old Oct 9, 19, 9:14 pm
  #8  
Moderator: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Programs: MPC,CA,MU,AF
Posts: 8,171
Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
Yes, it is a valid concern if you are planning to go into the city, especially on a weekend.
We can give better suggestions if you share your arrival and departure days and times.

I think this would be better suited to the Hong Kong destination forum
Yes, I am moving this thread to the HK forum.

cxfan1960
CX CoMod
cxfan1960 is offline  
Old Oct 9, 19, 10:28 pm
  #9  
TA
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: if it's Thursday, this must be Belgium
Programs: UA 1K MM
Posts: 6,209
There have not been any significant protests / disruptions blocking the airport access road in recent weeks, although the AEX has been disrupted a few times as a precaution.

I would offer the opinion that if you are having a daytime layover, and are able to get out of the airport via AEX without trouble, it's highly likely you can take the AEX back as well during day time. And even if not, highly likely that bus / taxi will get you back just fine -- I would just suggest positioning yourself on the Kowloon side at the end of your journey in case that is a concern.
TA is offline  
Old Oct 10, 19, 12:03 am
  #10  
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: 10,200
Originally Posted by TA View Post
There have not been any significant protests / disruptions blocking the airport access road in recent weeks, although the AEX has been disrupted a few times as a precaution.

I would offer the opinion that if you are having a daytime layover, and are able to get out of the airport via AEX without trouble, it's highly likely you can take the AEX back as well during day time. And even if not, highly likely that bus / taxi will get you back just fine -- I would just suggest positioning yourself on the Kowloon side at the end of your journey in case that is a concern.
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.
moondog and Clipper801 like this.
tentseller is online now  
Old Oct 10, 19, 12:15 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Anywhere
Posts: 4,105
Indeed. I was thinking if we are to venture out of HKIA even Kowloon (Mongkok) or NT (Shatin) seem out of bounds? That leaves only Lantau?

Last edited by carrotjuice; Oct 30, 19 at 3:59 pm
carrotjuice is offline  
Old Oct 10, 19, 12:22 am
  #12  
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: 10,200
Originally Posted by carrotjuice View Post
Indeed. I was thinking if we are to venture out of MKIA even Kowloon (Mongkok) or NT (Shatin) seem out of bounds? That leaves only Lantau?
Let us know your arrival and departure time and the day of the week so we can give intelligent ideas for you to consider.

If your arrival is that bank of early morning arrival then there are more safe options as opposed to a noon arrival and midnight departure.
tentseller is online now  
Old Oct 10, 19, 1:25 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 26
Honestly I'd just not risk coming into the city. Even if AEXP doesn't shut down, you might be stuck without MTR / find shops & restaurants closed due to protests depending on which part of town you're in (read: the more fun parts of town). Macau ferry seems like a nice option, go hang out in a casino for a bit, catch a show, grab some good food, etc.
Richard Yu is offline  
Old Oct 10, 19, 2:10 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Programs: Marriott Titanium; WN A-list; UA Silver
Posts: 310
I think it is worth mentioning that citymapper is far better at reflecting MTR shutdowns than things like google maps if you are trying to get around.
nmpls is offline  
Old Oct 10, 19, 6:00 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Anywhere
Posts: 4,105
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?
carrotjuice is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: