The protests against the extradition bill has been going on for weeks since 1 million citizens marched on the street on June 9th in Hong Kong, and it certainly looks like the protesters won’t stop marching until the government withdraws the bill.
The news had stunned the city again when triad gang members stormed into a shopping mall and subway station beating innocent passersby in Yuen Long in the New Territories (aka the suburbs) last weekend, presumably on behalf of the Beijing government’s interest in deterring people from participating in more protests in the future.
So the question is, is it still safe to travel to Hong Kong?
Are businesses still open as usual?
What about tour operators?
The brief answer is yes, it’s still relatively safe to travel in Hong Kong and here’s why:
1. Protest areas are usually contained in 1-2 specific, isolated neighbourhoods
The protests are mostly in Wan Chai (near the government headquarters) and Admiralty on Hong Kong Island, and certain areas such as Yuen Long and Shatin in the New Territories, and they take place during the weekends. The crowd is contained in a certain area, so as long as you stay updated on where the protest is happening and stay away from the parameter, you’ll be alright.
2. Protests have been mostly peaceful
The mass protests taking place on the street have been peaceful and clashes between the police and protesters take place after the approval of the protest has passed its deadline. Again, the rule of thumb is to keep track of where the protest is at and stay away from the area.
You’ll barely notice that there’s chaos happening in the city when you arrive. Businesses are open as usual, and life goes on even though Hong Kong is going through one of its biggest changes in history.
3. Violence in shopping malls was in the suburbs
While it’s unsettling watching violence unfold, where white shirt gang members beat up protesters and passerby in the shopping malls, please note that these events took place in the New Territories, which is the suburbs in Hong Kong. It’s far away from the more touristy areas such as Central and Mong Kok (around 45 minutes to 1 hour away by public transport). As long as you don’t go over to Yuen Long during the weekend, you’re good.
Last not but least….
Are tour operators still open for business?
As far as we know, all tour operators in Hong Kong will be open as usual.
As a tour operator, we understand your concerns whether it’s safe to travel to Hong Kong. If you do have plans to come to the city this fall, please rest assured that it’s still safe to travel here and it's a shame to drop your travel plans and miss the chance of visiting this beautiful city! Just be smart and stay away from certain areas where the protests are, and you’ll be good!