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Assessed Risk in Hong Kong

A travel risk management firm says that risk of unrest in Hong Kong should now be considered “high” due to the continuing protests.

“The protesters have changed their targeting patterns. Protests are increasingly impacting transport infrastructure, including Hong Kong International (HKG) Airport, as well as the Mass Transit Rapid network,” says Sebastian Liu, global threat analyst with the Healix Group of Companies, a healthcare and risk management solutions firm.  

For example, the protests that took place at HKG airport from 9 to 13 August disrupted hundreds of flights, Liu says. The assessment was conducted by Liu and Dr. Adrian Hyzler, chief medical officer at Healix.

The assessment also predicts that it is “likely” the protests will continue in the short term. “Although foreign nationals have not been targeted, the risk of incidental violence persists on protest days. Disruption in public areas, including metro stations and shopping malls where protesters are known to seek shelter, have taken place,” Liu says.

The current demonstrations first began in March, with a relatively small amount of protestors opposing the government’s proposed extradition bill. The legislation would have allowed officials to extradite suspects to territories that did not have a prior agreement with Hong Kong, such as mainland China and Taiwan.

Since March, the protests have been growing. “The movement has increasingly been driven by a broader dissatisfaction with the increasing influence of China, and demands for democracy,” Liu says. Large-scale protests have been ongoing since June.

Most of the initial demonstrations were held around government buildings in the area of the Legislative Council in Central Hong Kong. Protests have also been held at other areas of the territory, including Kowloon, and some border towns. Flashpoints for unrest in Central Hong Kong include Chater Garden, Tamar Park, and government buildings such as the Revenue Tower, the LegCo Complex, the Office of the Chief Executive, and the Central Government Complex, according to the assessment.

On Tuesday, which was the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, massive protests broke out in Hong Kong yet again. Local police confirmed that an officer shot and injured an 18-year-old man, which marked the first time that lethal force was used since the protests began, CNN reports. More than 180 people were arrested, according to various media reports.