Flights between KL, Hong Kong disrupted as strike continues

It is too early to issue a warning for Malaysian tourists who are travelling to Hong Kong, says minister


SEVERAL flights bound for Hong Kong from Kuala Lumpur (KL) airports yesterday were disrupted as tension in the special administrative region of China escalates, with anti-extradition bill protesters’ massive strike.

At press time, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd had cancelled its KL inbound and outbound flights, both operated by Cathay Dragon.

National carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd had also rescheduled its flights to and from Hong Kong.

AirAsia Bhd, which operates flights to Hong Kong from Malaysia and Thailand, had retimed 14 flights to and from the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). According to AirAsia’s website, some of the affected flights were scheduled for Kota Kinabalu, Manila, Krabi and Bangkok.

“Guests whose flights have been delayed more than three hours or cancelled may obtain a full refund in the amount equivalent to your booking in the form of original payment,” AirAsia noted.

Meanwhile, HKIA said more than 100 flights were cancelled yesterday morning as the airport authorities had warned the passengers of potential disruptions.

“The airport authority advises passengers to check with their respective airlines for the latest flight information, and to proceed to the airport only when their seats and flight time have been confirmed,” it said in a statement.

It was reported that at least 105 flights, mostly operated by Cathay Pacific, had been cancelled.

On the other hand, Malaysia’s Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said the mass rally in Hong Kong which began four months ago did not affect the number of tourist arrivals to Malaysia.

According to a Bernama report, Mohamaddin said it is too early to issue a warning for Malaysian tourists who are travelling to Hong Kong and that any action will be taken based on the city’s current development.

Protesters reacted after police fired tear gas in Tai Po district during a general strike in Hong Kong yesterday. (pic by AFP)

The violent protest is a series of ongoing demonstrations against the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill proposed by the Hong Kong government.

If enacted, the bill allows local authorities to detain people who are targeted in countries or regions that Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements with, including mainland China and Taiwan.

The strike began on March 31, when the Civil Human Rights Front launched its first protest march at Hong Kong’s Central Government Complex, which had dragged till today.

AFP reported that the peakhour morning train travel and international flights were thrown into chaos as pro-democracy protesters launched an attempted city-wide strike to ramp up the pressure on their leaders.

Hong Kong and Beijing authorities have signalled a hardening stance with the Chinese military as it prepares to end the “intolerable” unrest if requested.

At a press conference on Saturday, strike organisers — many hiding their identities behind masks — said 14,000 people had committed to the civic action yesterday.

Prior to this, the Hong Kong government warned people against joining the strike, saying it could further hamper the city’s already sputtering economy.

“Any large-scale strikes and acts of violence will affect the livelihood and economic activities of Hong Kong citizens,” it said.