November 04, 2019

Activists in Hong Kong have staged anti-government protests amid ongoing political tensions in the territory. The Los Angeles Times spoke with WorldAware intelligence analyst, Brendan O'Reilly, regarding travel risk in the region. Brendan said, “The important thing is for people to avoid areas where protests are happening, especially anything near a government facility, a police station or an MTR station where protesters gather. As long as people avoid those venues, Hong Kong as a whole is still typically safe.” 

Protests, which were originally prompted by a planned revision to Hong Kong's extradition law, have expanded into a generalized movement calling for political reforms and independent investigations into alleged police brutality, among other demands. Clashes and transport disruptions associated with the demonstrations escalated significantly in early October after the Hong Kong government invoked the Emergency Regulations Ordinance to ban face masks during unapproved demonstrations.

Authorities will continue to deploy security personnel to any locations where announced or impromptu protests materialize. Police will likely use tear gas and water cannon during encounters. In some instances, police have also used live ammunition as warning shots or after being attacked. Fast-moving clashes are likely in areas where demonstrations take place. Fighting is most likely to occur if demonstrators attempt to gather despite police objections, surround or enter government property or police stations, bypass security cordons, or linger beyond approved protest times.

Ground transport disruptions will also likely continue near demonstrations. Business disruptions may occur if protesters block roads near offices or seek shelter in shopping centers and commercial buildings amid clashes. Attacks on MTR facilities will probably prompt localized station closures; networkwide service disruptions are possible. It is advised by WorldAware intelligence analysts to a
void all announced or proposed protest actions due to the potential for violence. Be sure to monitor local media for protest activity, as organizers may not announce plans in advance. 

Read the full article from the Los Angeles Times.