United cancels Guam Hong Kong flight over protest

GROUNDED: Anti-extradition bill protesters rally at the departure hall of Hong Kong airport in Hong Kong, China Aug. 12, 2019. Flights were grounded because of the protest. Thomas Peters/Reuters

The United Airlines flight from Guam to Hong Kong on Monday was canceled in the midst of protests that spilled into Hong Kong's international airport.

However, flights from the U.S. mainland departed as scheduled, The Washington Post reported.

According to the United website, Flight UA159 on Monday was canceled. The website states: “We're sorry to let you know that your flight (UA 159) on 12 August has been canceled because of government restrictions that are preventing flights from taking off or landing at Hong Kong International Airport.”

Currently, there are four weekly flights from Guam to Hong Kong. United had earlier announced that it is discontinuing its Guam-Hong Kong services on Oct. 27.

The U.S. State Department updated its Travel Advisory for Hong Kong to Level 2 for travelers: “Exercise increased caution in Hong Kong due to civil unrest.”

The statement notes that since June 2019, several large scale and smaller political demonstrations have taken place in various areas of Hong Kong.

“Most have been peaceful, but some have turned confrontational or resulted in violent clashes. The protests and confrontations have spilled over into neighborhoods other than those where the police have permitted marches or rallies. These demonstrations, which can take place with little or no notice, are likely to continue,” the warning states.

On Monday, airlines were forced to cancels dozens of flights as thousands of protesters shut down Hong Kong's international airport, the Washington Post reports.

Residents have been protesting proposed legislation that would allow anyone suspected of committing a crime in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China.

The protests continue in spite of continued warnings from China, which has been describing the demonstrations as acts of “terrorism”. The Washington Post reports that China has started massing a paramilitary force in a southern border city.

Warning

State Department officials provided these guidelines for travelers who do decide to travel to Hong Kong:

• Monitor local media for updates.

• Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.

• Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.

• Be aware of your surroundings.

• Keep a low profile.

• Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

• Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.

• Review the Crime and Safety Report for Hong Kong.

• U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.