Alert Severity: Warning
China – Extradition Rallies (Update 3) – Hong Kong
Security alert for Hong Kong SAR (12/06/2019 8:37 AM – 12/06/2019 11:59 PM)
Police have fired tear gas and beanbag rounds at protesters near the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, June 12 as demonstrators reportedly attempt to break through security cordons and hurl plastic bottles at security personnel. Protesters have broken through barricades at the junction of Lung Wo Road and Tim Wa Avenue. The demonstrations are in opposition to planned amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition laws.
Protests are likely to escalate following the latest security forces’ response; opposition lawmakers and activists have also warned of escalation and threatened to storm the Legislative Council if the government does not withdraw the bill. Protesters that camped out near the legislature overnight June 11-12 stormed several streets near the legislature and Chief Executive’s Office building during the morning; thousands of people have joined the demonstration as of midday. The Legislative Council has postponed the planned hearing of contentious amendments, and authorities have not announced a new time for the hearing. However, the government has not withdrawn the legal changes, and officials have said they still intend to take a final vote on the law as early as June 20.
Protesters and police have blocked many nearby roads in Admiralty. Demonstrations are taking place on Lung Wo, Harcourt, and Legislative Council roads, as well as Tim Mei Avenue. Protesters have also blocked the eastbound lanes of Queensway. Police roadblocks are in place on Tim Wa Avenue, Civic Square, and the designated protest area immediately outside the Legislative Council. Protesters have reportedly gathered debris and barriers to block the roads. Reports also indicate that activists have collected supplies at the Harcourt Road underpass, suggesting that a prolonged action is possible. Organizers of the overnight demonstration have threatened to use violence to achieve their goals.
Police are heavily deployed near government buildings and are monitoring the protests. Authorities may continue road closures near the Legislative Council until the protests subside. Further clashes between police and protesters are possible through the evening of June 12, particularly if demonstrators attempt to bypass more security cordons and enter government property, or if police attempt to dismantle protester roadblocks.
Transport and business
Ground transport disruptions are occurring in Admiralty. Bus operators are rerouting or suspending service through the area as of midday June 12. Traffic disruptions are highly likely to continue in the vicinity for the duration of the demonstration. Some businesses have suspended operations in the area, or allowed employees to leave early. The government has also advised companies to be flexible, as increased employee absenteeism is affecting some businesses in the area.
Background and Analysis
Organizers claim 1 million people marched in Hong Kong against the amendments on June 9, though police report that around 270,000 people participated in the demonstration. While most protesters on June 9 remained peaceful, a minority of activists clashed with police and attempted to set up barricades on roadways. The proposed amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance have sparked increasing concern in recent weeks. The reforms would facilitate the extradition of criminal suspects between Hong Kong and other legal jurisdictions, including mainland China. Critics fear the changes would allow human rights abuses and undermine Hong Kong’s judicial system. The government maintains the legal reforms are necessary to close loopholes in the territory’s existing extradition treaties and to prevent the city from becoming a haven for mainland Chinese criminals.
Avoid the Legislative Council and other likely protest locations. If operating in the area, consider flexible work arrangements for staff, particularly in the event of an extended demonstration. Immediately leave the area and shelter in a secure, nongovernment building if violence erupts. Plan for increased security and localized transport disruptions in Admiralty. Follow all police instructions. Allow additional time to reach destinations throughout north-central Hong Kong Island.
Central Hong Kong (map)
Increased security, ground transport and business disruptions; possible clashes and increased employee absenteeism
World Aware Warning Alert
Alert Severity: Warning