Hong Kong travel advice: High degree of caution
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) on August 6, 2019, raised its Advice level for Hong Kong to:
‘. . . exercise a high degree of caution.SmartTraveller.gov.au
Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media about possible new safety or security risks.’
The notice outlines a series of warnings, such as weather during the Typhoon season, money scams and drinks spiking, but this is what it says about the current protest situation:
Exercise a high degree of caution in Hong Kong. ‘Flash mob’ protests and random attacks on protestors have become less predictable and are expected to continue. Tourist and residential areas have been affected. There is a high risk of violent confrontation between protestors and police, or criminally-linked individuals. The risk is greater at night, on weekends and public holidays. We strongly recommend you avoid large public gatherings. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities. See Safety and securitySmartTraveller.gov.au
I have been to Hong Kong several times, including most recently in 2016, but also back in 2014 during the Umbrella Movement democracy protests.
By the time of our visit, things were calming down, and the protests were a little removed from regular tourist haunts. This time, things seem far more serious, and the clash between pro-democracy and Chinese mainland protesters, not to mention the Triads, make it sound a lot more dangerous.
The journalist in me is drawn to the conflict, but the sensible traveller in me says ‘stay away’.
I advise anyone travelling to Hong Kong to read the full DFAT advice, register their travel plans at SmartTraveller.gov.au and act accordingly.