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‘Business is as usual in Hong Kong’ despite live shots fired at protesters

The chairman of The Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention industry, Stuart Bailey, told business travellers that it’s “business is as usual” for those attending trade exhibitions and conferences in Hong Kong, despite ongoing protests.

“At this time we are seeing that major exhibition and conferences in Hong Kong are running without incident or interruption. Exhibition and conference events were not targeted for disruption. Hong Kong is definitely still open for business and safe to travel,” he added.

The protests, which began in June 2019 have seen millions of protesters take to the streets and transport hubs to protest against the controversial extradition bill that would see Hong Kong citizens extradited to China.

The protests were initially peaceful but have since turned violent, with reports of Hong Kong police using water cannons, beanbag rounds, teargas and now live ammunition to control the protesters.

On 12 and 13 August, demonstrators disrupted inbound and outbound flights at Hong Kong International Airport, however normal service resumed on 14 August when the Airport Authority Hong Kong obtained an interim injunction to restrain anyone from unlawfully obstructing the airport’s operation.

Despite ongoing road closures across Hong Kong, Bailey urges that both the major venues for trade exhibitions and international conferences, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) and AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) are still fully accessible by foot, private car and public transport including the subway.

Exhibitions including the Food Expo held at HKCEC between 15 and 19 August, along with three concurrent exhibitions, all ran without a hitch, according to Bailey. To date, only the Seafood Expo Asia (SEA), scheduled between 3 and 5 September at HKCEC, has been cancelled due to protests.

However, Bailey, along with the UK foreign office, urge travellers to Hong Kong to be mindful that “the situation could change quickly in areas where protests and public gatherings are taking place.”

Bailey added: “Visitors should take extra care and be mindful of areas in which protests might be taking place and take note of any special traffic arrangements such a temporary road closures and disruptions on public transport.”

However, he asks travellers to keep in mind that Hong Kong has consistently been ranked as one of the safest cities in the world.