Loading
Breaking
Now Reading: AS AIRPORT REOPENS | Carrie Lam: HK protests unleash ‘panic, chaos’
AS AIRPORT REOPENS | Carrie Lam: HK protests unleash ‘panic, chaos’
August 13, 2019 , 05:37 PM

AUGUST 13, 2019 (Reuters) — A state of “panic and chaos” exists in Hong Kong, the city’s embattled leader said on Tuesday, defying calls to quit as the stock market tumbled, airlines flagged further flight disruptions and anti-government protesters filled the airport.

Unrest has roiled the former British colony for 10 weeks this summer, as thousands of residents chafe at a perceived erosion of freedoms and autonomy under Chinese rule.

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

For a fifth day, protesters occupied the arrivals hall at the airport, shut down in an unprecedented move on Monday that forced hundreds of flight cancellations. Beijing likened the demonstrations in Hong Kong to terrorism.

“Take a minute to look at our city, our home,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam told a news conference at the government headquarters complex, fortified with 6-foot (1.8m) high water-filled barricades.

“Can we bear to push it into the abyss and see it smashed to pieces?” she added, her voice wavering.

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

The protests began as 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.

Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement enshrining some autonomy for Hong Kong when China took it back from Britain in 1997.

They want Lam to resign. She said she would stay.

“My responsibility goes beyond this particular range of protest,” she said, adding that violence had pushed the territory into a state of “panic and chaos”.

“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 to satisfy a key demand by protesters, or if she required Beijing’s approval.

CRITICAL JUNCTURE

On Monday China said the protests had reached a critical juncture, after a weekend of street clashes in which both police and protesters appeared to toughen their resolve.

Police fired tear gas at the black-shirted crowds in districts on Hong Kong island, Kowloon and the New Territories.

A senior Chinese official said “sprouts of terrorism” were emerging in Hong Kong, given instances of violent attacks against police officers.

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

Some flights resumed as Hong Kong’s airport reopened on Tuesday, but hundreds remained cancelled.

Airport officials said they aimed to resume normal service in the afternoon, but warned of further protests as the atmosphere at the airport grew more confrontational.

“Sorry for the inconvenience, we are fighting for the future of our home,” read a banner held by some of the hundreds of protesters who had returned to the arrivals hall.

Some passengers challenged protesters over the delays as tempers began to fray, while the demonstrators, employing a Chinese term of encouragement, chanted, “Hong Kong people – add oil!”

Flag carrier Cathay Pacific urged passengers to postpone non-essential travel on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The airline, whose British heritage makes it symbol of Hong Kong’s colonial past, is also in a political bind.

China’s civil aviation regulator demanded it suspend personnel who joined or backed the protests from flights into its airspace, pushing its shares to a 10-year low on Monday and lower still on Tuesday.

The airport closure added to that pressure, though some firms benefited from the chaos.

Shares in Shenzhen Airport Co Ltd surged 10%, the maximum allowed on the index, buoyed by potential flight diversions.

Flagship carrier Air China said it would add capacity on its Beijing-Shenzhen route, as a result of the disruptions.

Other Chinese airlines have offered passengers a free switch of destination from Hong Kong to nearby locations such as Guangzhou, Macau, Shenzhen or Zhuhai. (Additional reporting by Felix Tam, Noah Sin, Donny Kwok, Greg Torode and James Pomfret in HONG KONG; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in SINGAPORE and Stella Qiu in BEIJING. Editing by)

More From News5
Cardema, hinamon na patunayan ang mga akusasyon
Hinikayat ni COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez si dating NYC chairman Ronald Cardema na maghain ng reklamo sa halip na idaan ang kanyang mga akusasyon laban kay Commissioner Rowena Guanzon sa media.
Published On: August 23, 2019
Explainer: Dengue Epidemic
Anu-ano nga ba ang apat na strain o uri ng dengue?
Published On: August 23, 2019
Pagdami ng Chinese workers, 'di ikinaalarma ni Pres. Duterte — Palasyo
Ikinabahala ng ilang security officials ang pagdagsa ng Chinese workers sa POGO hubs na itinatayo malapit sa mga base militar ng Pilipinas. | via Maricel Halili / Bim Santos
Published On: August 23, 2019
Babaeng nambugbog sa isang viral video, sinermunan ni Idol Raffy
Nakatikim ng sermon mula kay Idol Raffy Tulfo ang isang dalagitang nambugbog sa isang trese-anyos na batang babae na kanyang pinagseselosan. Ang siste, pakiramdam ng dalagita ay nilalandi ng bata ang kanyang boyfriend. 'Di rin nakaligtas sa sermon ang mga magulang ng dalagita.
Published On: August 23, 2019
Death penalty at OFWs
"How can we appeal for mercy or a commutation of sentence?" Tutol si Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. sa pagbabalik ng death penalty sa Pilipinas dahil posibleng maapektuhan daw nito ang mga OFW na nahaharap sa ganitong parusa.
Published On: August 23, 2019
PACC: Case to case ang pagtanggap ng regalo
Puwedeng tumanggap ng hanggang P100,000 na halaga ng regalo ang mga tauhan ng gobyerno ayon sa Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.
Published On: August 23, 2019
Huwag idamay ang Pangulo
Hindi raw makikialam si Pres. Rodrigo Duterte sa isyu nina dating National Youth Commission chairman Ronald Cardema at COMELEC commissioner Rowena Guanzon.
Published On: August 23, 2019
Mental institution, nakikitang solusyon sa mass shootings
Ayon kay U.S. Pres. Donald Trump ay may sakit sa pag-iisip ang mga suspek sa mass shootings sa Amerika.
Published On: August 23, 2019
Explainer | The laws on gifts
Base sa batas, puwede nga bang tumanggap ng regalo o hindi ang mga pulis?
Published On: August 23, 2019
P3-M reward sa Negros Oriental ambush
Dinagdagan pa ni Pres. Rodrigo Duterte ang pabuya para madakip ang mga salarin sa pananambang sa apat na pulis sa Negros Oriental.
Published On: July 29, 2019
Top Stories
6 MORE NAMES | Guiao locks 6 slots in Gilas final roster
August 25, 2019 – Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao on Saturday announced six shoo-ins in the final 12-man lineup of Gilas Pilipinas for
Published On: August 25, 2019
AN OPPORTUNITY | Gordon calls for dengue epidemic research arm
AUGUST 25, 2019 — Sen. Richard Gordon on Sunday said that the dengue epidemic in the country is an opportunity for the government to push for the
Published On: August 25, 2019
TRADE WAR | China to fight back against U.S. tariff move – People’s Daily
BEIJING, Aug 25 (Reuters) – China will fight back against the latest U.S. step to increase tariffs on Chinese goods, the ruling Communist Par
Published On: August 25, 2019
AFTER CLASHES | Hong Kong police arrest 29 after overnight clashes, more protests planned
HONG KONG, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s police said on Sunday they arrested 29 people after clashes overnight in which volleys of tea
Published On: August 25, 2019
NEEDS REVIEW | DOJ eyes possible suspension of GCTA
August 25, 2019 – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is eyeing the possible suspension of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) for inmates, Secret
Published On: August 25, 2019