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Saturday, August 24, 2019, 08:58
Police: Blocking airport transport violates injunction
By Gu Mengyan and Chen Zimo
Saturday, August 24, 2019, 08:58 By Gu Mengyan and Chen Zimo

Blocking transportation links to Hong Kong International Airport violates a court injunction barring protesters from impeding airport operations — and such behavior would lead to contempt-of-court lawsuits, police said on Friday.

The Hong Kong High Court on Friday extended an interim injunction that bans protesters from obstructing airport operations until further notice, as anti-government groups planned a fresh protest to cripple traffic to the airport on Saturday, one day after the original court order expires.

The Airport Authority sought the injunction last week after protesters staged sit-ins at the terminal, causing the cancellation of nearly 1,000 flights.

“Blocking roads and railway links to the airport will also be regarded as unlawfully and willfully obstructing the proper use of the airport,” said Lau Wing-kei, deputy district commander of the Airport District.

Anyone who violates the injunction could be sued for contempt of court, Lau told a police briefing.

Frank Chan Fan, secretary for transport and housing, reminded the public not to violate the injunction at an inter-departmental news conference on Friday.

Justice Wilson Chan Ka-shun, in renewing the injunction, said he had no hesitation in continuing the order until trial or further order of the court, as the threat of disturbances at the airport continues, including repeated calls on social media to obstruct access control points to prevent passengers from entering the airport.

The justice stressed that “the smooth running of the airport is of crucial significance to Hong Kong, especially the security and safety of its residents and travelers, its commercial interests, as well as its international reputation.”

The Airport Authority appealed to youngsters not to participate in or support acts that disrupt airport services and undermine the airport’s reputation.

Tens of thousands of workers earn their living from airport-related industries, including aviation, tourism, logistics and trade, the authority said in a statement published in several local newspapers on Friday.

Meanwhile, seven civil aviation trade unions in Hong Kong issued a joint statement on Thursday that strongly condemned the demonstrators’ attempts at continuing disturbances at the airport, and criticized the demonstrators for their “extremely selfish” actions of damaging the livelihoods of so many airport employees.

In response to the call to block roads to the airport, the city’s land transportation sector, in a newspaper advertisement, urged the protesters to avoid obstructing traffic and costing professional drivers their livelihoods.

Hong Kong’s tourism and logistics businesses took a hit this month. As of Wednesday, the airport had handled 4.16 million passengers, down 11 percent year-on-year, Frank Chan said. Cargo throughput dropped by 14 percent year-on-year, to 250,000 metric tons. Over 1,000 flights had been canceled, he added.

The number of visitor arrivals in Hong Kong plunged 49.6 percent year-on-year from Aug 15 through Tuesday, according to Edward Yau Tang-wah, secretary for commerce and economic development.

A total of 31 countries have issued travel warnings for Hong Kong as of Friday.

Sophie He contributed to the story.


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