HONG Kong remains in a state of flux yesterday with its airport – one of the world’s busiest – cancelling all remaining departing flights for the second day after protesters took over the terminal.

The airport authority announced in the early evening that check-in services for departing flights were being suspended, while other departing flights which had completed the process would operate.

Some flights were able to depart and land earlier on Tuesday, a day after more than 200 were cancelled.

Thousands of protesters who gathered in the airport for the fifth consecutive day blocked the airport’s arrival and departure halls.

“Sorry for the inconvenience, we are fighting for the future of our home,” read one of their banners in the arrivals hall.

They are calling for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.

Officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons confronted the protesters who used luggage carts to barricade entrances.

The city’s embattled chief executive Carrie Lam defied calls to quit as the stock market tumbled, although she did concede that the city was in a state of “panic and chaos.”


THERE have been 10 weeks of unrest in the former British colony over the summer, with anger at what residents described as erosion of freedoms and autonomy under Chinese rule.

The protests started in opposition to a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China for those facing criminal charges, but have swelled into wider calls for democracy.

Behind the protests was a promise that Hong Kong would have democratic rights not enjoyed in Communist Party-ruled mainland China when Beijing took it over in 1997.

Some have accused Beijing of steadily eroding their freedoms and demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement.

Demonstrations have become increasingly violent, plunging the Asian financial hub into its most serious crisis in decades, as well as presenting Chinese leader Xi Jinping with one of his biggest challenges since he came to power in 2012.


GIVEN reports of violent attacks on police officers, a senior Chinese official said, “sprouts of terrorism” were emerging in Hong Kong.

Some protesters have thrown bricks, eggs and flaming objects at police stations and officers said they arrested another 149 people over the weekend, bringing the total to more than 700 since early June. They said several officers have suffered burns, bruises and eye damage inflicted by protesters.

However, police appeared to toughen their resolve and fired tear gas at the black-shirted crowds in districts on Hong Kong island, Kowloon and the New Territories.

Legal experts say Beijing might be paving the way to use anti-terror laws to restrain the protesters.

Beijing also appeared to be flexing its military muscle as paramilitary police in a huge fleet of army vehicles assembled across the border in the city of Shenzhen, ostensibly for exercises, although some saw it as a threat to increase force.

Demonstrators have shown no sign of letting up on their campaign to force Lam’s administration to respond to their demands, including that she step down and scrap the controversial legislation that could have seen criminal suspects sent to mainland China to face torture and unfair or politically charged trials.

Beijing tends to define terrorism broadly, extending it especially to non-violent movements opposing government policies in minority regions such as Tibet and Xinjiang.

But the government’s use of the term in relation to Hong Kong raised the prospect of greater violence and the possible suspension of legal rights for those detained.


WHO knows? Speaking at her government HQ, which has been fortified with 6ft-high water-filled barricades, Lam told journalists: “Take a minute to look at our city, our home. Can we bear to push it into the abyss and see it smashed to pieces?”

As she spoke, the benchmark Hang Seng index hit a seven-month low, and by lunchtime, it had dropped nearly 2%, dragging down markets across Asia. It has fallen 6% since the protests began in June.

“My responsibility goes beyond this particular range of protest,” said Lam. “I, as the chief executive, will be responsible to rebuild the Hong Kong economy, to engage as widely as possible, listen as attentively as possible to my people’s grievances and try to help Hong Kong to move on.”

She did not respond to repeated requests to clarify if she had the power to withdraw the extradition bill, or if she required Beijing’s approval to do so.