Hundreds of protesters briefly stormed Hong Kong’s airport on Sunday, despite attempts to heighten security in anticipation of a planned demonstration.
At around 13:20 (local time), a group of masked protesters stormed the ground floor of Terminal 1, shattering a glass door blocking their path. They were chased off by airport police officers soon after.
The Hong Kong International Airport remained on partial lock-down in the afternoon, with at least one entrance closed. Airport staff have also set up barriers and gates which block certain entrances. Riot police were spotted arriving at Terminal 1 at around 13:50.
Meanwhile, the MTR Corporation announced that Airport Express trains heading into the airport have stopped, while trains leading away from the airport will run at 10-minute intervals. The move was made at the request of the government and the Airport Authority, the railway firm said.
At the arrival hall, one officer chased a male protester who attempted to seek refuge in the male toilets. HKFP footage showed how the man tripped and was beaten by the officer with his baton. The officer then tried to check the stalls for any hidden protesters.
Two female security guards were also seen checking the female bathroom for hiding protesters. A guard found three women in a bathroom stall, and told them to show their boarding passes. The women replied that one of them had lost their phone and they were just trying to find it.
The officer who was seen beating the male protester was later surrounded by a crowd, with some yelling insults at him and imitating the sound of dogs barking. Angry protesters have often compared the police to dogs, and accused them of colluding with gangsters.
Efforts to hinder the airport’s operations come a day after police and protesters clashed on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The action came in spite of a court injunction banning protests and obstructive activities at Chek Lap Kok which was extended until further notice last week.
Several Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights between Hong Kong and China have been cancelled. Most planes were otherwise departing on time on Sunday, though most arrivals were landing late. The Airport Authority advised passengers to arrive early if they have flights booked.
Widespread demonstrations were first triggered by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, which would have allowed case-by-case fugitive transfers to China. Since June, peaceful protests have morphed into – sometimes violent – displays of dissent over Beijing’s encroachment, democracy, alleged police brutality, surveillance and other community grievances.