Hong Kong Airport To Restart Flights Tuesday

Aug 12, 2019

The Hong Kong airport says it will restart flights starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday after it completely shut down operations when thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators occupied its main terminal.

All flights Monday that had not completed check-in procedures by afternoon were canceled, as were arriving flights that had not yet taken off.

Mayhem ensued in one of the world's busiest airports.

Airport staff advised passengers to leave the airport for their own safety, but traffic outside was at a near standstill, and public transportation was clogged. Some passengers and departing protesters opted to walk.

Hong Kong has experienced more than two months of mass protests calling for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct.

The protest movement's demands also include the resignation of the Chinese territory's leader and an election for her successor.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997 under the "one country, two systems" principle.

Hong Kong police have defended their tactics and use of force against protesters during another weekend of violent clashes, including using tear gas inside a train station, deploying officers disguised as protesters and allegedly shooting at demonstrators at close range with pepper-spray pellets.

The police attempted to fend off criticism Monday about widely shared videos from Sunday night's clashes, including graphic images of a woman who was shot in the eye and of an arrest in which officers dressed like protesters pinned a bleeding demonstrator to the ground.

Deputy Commissioner Tang Ping-keung acknowledged that police use decoy officers in some operations but would not go into details.

"Our decoy officers do not take part in any unlawful activities," Tang insisted.

Police confirmed that officers fired one shot of tear gas into a train station Sunday, saying it was necessary to disperse violent protesters. Addressing criticism of riot police firing pepper spray pellets at close range, officials said the weapon was not lethal but they would review the incident.

They said they were still gathering evidence about whether a young female protester who was pictured with a bleeding eye was hit by police.