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Landing into a Hong Kong Protest

Landing into a Hong Kong Protest

Old Aug 5, 19, 9:27 am
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Landing into a Hong Kong Protest

CX 443 Taipei - Hong Kong : Flying into a Protest
26 July

My Taipei trip itineraries over the years tend to be quite predictable. I would normally fly at around the dinner hour on a Friday night back to Hong Kong. This trip was originally following the same design, but an email alert the day before departure about a planned protest at Hong Kong airport Friday afternoon changed all that. The government's inability to address public concerns over the controversial extradition bill has led to continuous public protests over the past few weeks. The typical routine is for a peaceful protest to start off but as the night lingered on, things could get more confrontational and police would move in with riot gear and tear gas. Accusations of police brutality have become the norm.

Faced with a potential disaster with a 9pm arrival, I took action and changed to a mid-afternoon flight on the morning of departure. I would land at around 6pm, just before office workers would typically leave, and hopefully things are calmer as protesters may be eating dinner and still in good spirits.



With some time to go before my flight, I hovered around the land-side part of T1 to check out its facilities. The lockers caught my attention right away. I've been used to various types of enhanced security measures over the years. My experience with bag storage at the airport has often been an X-ray scan, then pay and store. Not so here in Taipei. Just pay and store and the check-in desks are just a stone's throw away.



The staff at the air-side entry only scanned boarding passes and did not verify any passports or ID, another interesting deviation from standard security measures. There was a short line for security, but immigration was a breeze as I could use the automated machines. I didn't even need to scan my passport. Just 2 fingerprints and I was out of the gate within seconds.



Despite Terminal 1's renovations, the walking distances still remain quite long. Getting from immigration to the first gates took quite some time. I was happy to browse around a few gates to spot some birds before my flight.











Boarding was called timely and there was a dedicated line for elites and Marco Polo members. I need to make that distinction as even the most basic Green member, which is not an elite, could use that much shorter line. Both jetbridges were used today although the Economy one backed up quite a bit.



We were all ready to go and and pushed back 5 minutes earlier than schedule.





It was a short taxi to the runway. A number of China Airlines planes were parked at the tarmac, including a special livery jet.







We took off towards the south, and my window had a very nice view of the surrounding countryside, framed by the urban areas beyond.





























As we veered off the coast towards Hong Kong, a snack was served. Luckily, I bought a salad on the ground and had no interest in eating the roll. Nevertheless, the flight attendant was kind to offer me the boxed drink and cookie instead.









With no hold or circling today, the flight time would be well under 1.5 hours. The pleasant surprise was we would approach from the east, and my window seat would get wonderful aerials over the city.



















On final approach, the boundary facilities of the new bridge to Macau and Zhuhai are visible, mostly empty. Cars and trucks still don't frequent this new piece of infrastructure yet, although buses are packed full even if they depart every few minutes.





We landed under the blue sky well ahead of schedule.



By dinner time, the anti-extradition bill protest was well under way. There were no back-ups as I cleared immigration and customs. Upon exiting the doors, the entire arrivals hall was a sea of black. Protesters held signs and handed out leaflets to arriving passengers, and a make-shift Lennon pillar full of post-its emerged. The protesters opened a wide corridor to let people through to the exit, and everything was peaceful. I couldn't help but to take a few photos from the departures hall above before heading home.











More on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/cx443.htm
hkskyline is offline  
Old Aug 5, 19, 12:55 pm
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Great views as you came into land!
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Old Aug 6, 19, 7:37 am
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Everything looks so peaceful from up above!
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Old Aug 6, 19, 11:34 am
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Thanks for the report. Did the authorities try to shut down public transport to the airport in order to prevent protesters from getting there, or was public transport working as usual?
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Old Aug 6, 19, 11:09 pm
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Originally Posted by cockpitvisit View Post
Thanks for the report. Did the authorities try to shut down public transport to the airport in order to prevent protesters from getting there, or was public transport working as usual?
None whatsoever. They were all over the arrivals hall handing out leaflets and broadcasting video footage of the Yuen Long thug attacks (and the lack of police response). They left a wide corridor for passengers to exit and all buses/trains were running as normal.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 1:48 am
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Why would someone take the Stars & Stripes to such a protest?

Must be a tough situation for the HK authorities. If they call in the PLA, Hong Kong will never be the same again.
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Old Aug 7, 19, 5:02 am
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great pics.... we have been to Hong Kong quite a bit, one of our favorites for Asia, (besides India of course)
glad to see the protesters being civil, as I would expect having met so many from that wonderful city
dont have too much fun..
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Old Aug 7, 19, 6:45 am
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Going there Friday wonder what the weekend will bring....
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Old Aug 9, 19, 6:57 am
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Wow, what a welcome in Hong Kong. Thank you for sharing.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 6:57 am
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Good report.
What's their point of holding American flags? Are some of them American citizens (or Green Card holders) trying to show off their patriotism or what?
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Old Aug 9, 19, 7:06 am
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Happening again today and possibly through the weekend.
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Old Aug 10, 19, 5:13 am
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Originally Posted by antebellum View Post
Good report.
What's their point of holding American flags? Are some of them American citizens (or Green Card holders) trying to show off their patriotism or what?
There are some UK and old colonial HK flags as well. Part of it is to appeal to the international community, especially those who share similar values for freedom, to help.

Originally Posted by somemale View Post
Happening again today and possibly through the weekend.
I just landed back in HK today and the protest is even larger than last time. Will post the flight report in the coming days.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 12:57 am
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Are flight operations back to normal in Hong kong ?
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Old Aug 16, 19, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by travelxperiance View Post
Are flight operations back to normal in Hong kong ?
A friend sent me a message that the SAA flight was cancelled, and the outbound aircraft from JNB to HKG yesterday was cancelled(2 days in a row???), so he is stuck there until tomorrow - along with a few other PAX on their way to JNB.
But, he reckons that many other carriers were operating as per usual, some with a few delays.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 3:00 am
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Originally Posted by stevie View Post
Going there Friday wonder what the weekend will bring....
Arrived Saturday to a warm welcome by a couple of hundred protesters who handed out leaflets.
Sunday evening was in Wan Chai and got caught up in big trouble and got a blast of tear gas. Was very frightening the whole evening.
Monday had meetings.
Tuesday was meant to have a flight and caught again at the airport, but got away before the real trouble started.
Got out Wednesday.

Eventful but upsetting for what the HK people are having to fight for. All the best of support to them.
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