Hong Kong - How Dangerous Is It at The Moment and Is It Still Worth Going?

I'm looking at doing a spontaneous holiday and Hong Kong, has anyone been ?
are the protests happening everywhere? or centrally located?
are the tourist destinations still open?

Flight from SYD - HKG return is only $512 (at time of posting) on Virgin Australia, direct flight
Hotels I'm seeing Hyatt hotels @ around $200 per night. Most of the hotels I'm seeing are cheap.

Or I can hop on a ferry and go over to MACAU?

Comments

    • -1 vote

      Its pretty bad. To be safe dont go.

      •  

        Isn't there an AU Gov't
        web site that indicates
        levels of Safety, etc.
        for every place Aussies
        might like to travel to?


        I'd guess, that those
        who look like foreigners
        may find HK safer than
        some1 who might be con-
        fused as a "local" [by
        Police]

        A nice kevlar vest, marked
        "PRESS" couldn't hurt, but
        - if you don't have match-
        ing credentials, it might
        be problematic.

        DW once said there are Pro-
        Gov't folks + Protesters
        I'd keep away from BOTH
        Groups, until it's over.

  • +21 votes

    Go to Shenzhen alternatively to Macau.

    Parents had a stop in HK last week, had no problems. Lots of media doing their job advertising the doom.

    I had a flight cancelled in the middle of August, and now its super cheap to go, so I'm heading there October 20th.

    From a bargain point of view, its probably the best time to go with cheap flights and accommodation.

  • +36 votes

    You should be fine as long as you wear a face mask.

  • +28 votes

    I got home on 30th September after 4 days there. Was also there for a few days at the beginning of September. Great time to go. October is best for weather IMHO, although it was still uncomfortably hot in the past week. Crowds are definitely down. Much easier to walk the streets and there are some good hotel deals. As far as the protests go, they are generally happening on week-ends and mostly at night. Locations are usually known in advance and they certainly are not targeting tourists. Life goes on as normal most of the time. I'd have absolutely no qualms about going back any time. The locals are very appreciative of tourists. There's extra security at the airport and on the airport transport and routes, and I had no problem, even travelling to the airport on Sunday night. I previously lived there for 10 years and I certainly didn't feel threatened or any hostility from the HK people compared to when I lived there. Probably seemed more friendly if anything. I've always considered HK as one of the safest cities in the world for expats and tourists.

    • +13 votes

      They were targeting tourists at airport but have since apologised after they found that their flight-delaying tactics were angering tourists not just raising awareness. They definitely want overseas support not bad press.

    • -4 votes

      There is always positive story but what so big deal about HK other than Yum Cha?

      You can visit entire place within few days. I wouldn't pay a dollar to visit HK but good destination as stop over like 10 years ago.

      $500 not even cheap, maybe you can stay in a five star hotel for $100. Not even a bargain based on uncertainty.

      Then again as per today entire MTR network that handles more than 4 million trips a day, including the express line to the Hong Kong international airport, shut down.

      Maybe good if you got family n Friends to visit.

  • +20 votes

    $500 is not even super cheap $500 is the normal on sale price to go.

    A small issue is if anything would happen insurance may not cover it as it is a known event.

    That said I have traveled to places the smart trav website have said are worst and had a fine time.

    •  

      insurance may not cover it

      Hmmm…..

    •  

      You might have had a fine time, but if tragedy happens,
      both .AU government or insurance company will say, you didn't follow ST website advice and may not cover your assistance as needed by you (financial or consular)

  •  

    just don't wear a white or black shirt

  • +1 vote

    I thought it would be easy to avoid those protests but sometimes it is outside of your control.

    My friend is there now.

    He went from Admiralty to Stanley no problem, but on the same route back the bus had to stop mid way as the protest moved into it's path and there was no option but to get off the bus and walk (inside the protest) to another form of transport.

  • +1 vote

    BYO umbrella

  •  

    Hennessy Road is the best HK island city walk and the centre of hostilites yesterday. Kowloon side seems to be Ok.

  • +10 votes

    You'll be fine if you wear clothing with the UK/USA flags printed on them. If you want to be extra safe, craft a background story about how you are affiliated with the National Endowment for Democracy and how you are a huge fan of Joshua Wong and the US Congress.

  • +10 votes

    Went for 1 week mid September. Didn't see 1 protest or run into any issues. Hotels are obviously significantly cheaper due to current issues and a bunch of the shops etc. are less populated. Was a good trip and not negatively affected by the current situations portrayed in media. It's like the usual thing, 1 issue shown on the papers = 1 event over 1 week, on 1 street. Your chance of running into this (and being oblivious enough to continue towards it after seeing it) is pretty much 0.

    Only noticeable changes are: extra checks at airport and subway is filled with posters all over the walls regarding protests.

    Oh and it's humid af and rains randomly. Take/buy an umbrella and be prepared to sweat a lot coming from how the climate is here at the moment.

    •  

      this is what i was hoping to hear, thanks

      • +19 votes

        Enjoy it, the worst part of HK had been the influx of mainlanders. But mainland tourist is down 90%, so its all good now. Cheaper hotels, less congestion, less spitting etc.

  • +1 vote

    Looks like a nice place for a casual jog, this is from yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2viGTcVn6C0

  • +12 votes

    I'm interested to know why people think the media are portraying the situation negatively. I tend to watch ABC and all I've seen is footage of riots. They're covering the stories. I am yet to see/hear any claims that all of Hong Kong is affected. Do people expect to see vision of the quiet areas where there are no riots on a news bulletin?

  • -2 votes

    Wear a Dan Andrews Red Shirt should be okay I think

  • +12 votes

    It is still safe to go, but keep an eye out for sudden MTR station closures. And one will probably have more to fear from the HK cops than the actual frontline protestors. ( The only good HK cops can only be found in movies nowadays)

    • +15 votes

      fwiw - relocated with wife and toddler since July 2019.

      Stay out of central on Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Especially at night. Monday to Thursday is generally fine. Most of the islands, tourist attractions are pretty empty weekdays. Weekends are still relatively busy.

      You can get a ferry to Macau pretty easily - no visa hassles for Australians. You can get a Visa-on-Arrival for Shenzhen for Aussies (but you can't travel the rest of china on that visa).

      A lot of the protesting started with the anti-extradition bill protests. It started with a circa 2m person person protest (which is legal). Then another 1m protest. These are all probably inflated due to organisers count bias, police to count down, unless it's a pro-police/pro-government rally and the numbers are inflated upwards.

      If you are Caucasian, you will be left alone (most of the time). Unless some folks think you a foreign agent causing problems…
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/31/a-cop-said-i-w...

      The police, if they are in bad mood will arrest you, wail on you, etc.

      Be very, very careful if there are any police around.
      Many police do not wear any ID, numbers or show warrant cards. So there is no way to complain about mistreatment. You may get tortured if you are unfortunate enough to go to detention…
      They are very ill disciplined and will beat up on anyone. They have gotten worse and worse over time. They are an extension of the government and have been relatively pro-government since the 2010s.

      Video of excessive police force:
      https://www.amnesty.org.hk/en/verified-hong-kong-police-viol...
      See improper use of pepper spray as a random tourist gets a full drenching whilst sitting down…
      Police whack press doing their job and not posing a threat…
      This is from the earlier days, police are much more aggressive now… There rules of engagement and use of lethal force has dropped the 'consequences for police'.

      Amnesty International have reports - which is pretty depressing reading.
      https://www.amnesty.org.hk/en/interviews-arbitrary-arrests-b...

      Police turned a blind eye to protesters being beaten up by gangsters/triads - two fully armed police walked off.
      https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/30...

      Raptors (police in black) are very dangerous.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UcEY1tuVm4
      Watch them pepper spray folks that are clearly no longer a threat (even if they were ever a threat in the beginning).

      Random wailing on anybody looking asian…
      https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3025993...

      Police refused to allow medical attention to injured people (most of who weren't charged with any offence).
      https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/09/13/police-twice-turned-aw...

      Fire Service - semi revolt and disavowed the Police version and said they failed to attend to injured people because the Police stopped them).
      Medical staff - were initially protesting - now cannot protest.
      Frequent leaks of excessive bone fractures, head fractures, etc after police operations.

      Remember, it is legal to protest (at least in Hong Kong, until they declare state of emergency).

      Arrested people often call out their name, Hong Kong ID and often say 'I will not commit suicide' - as there's been a lot of 'suicides' now. Hong Kong did have a high rate, but there is a lot of suspicion towards the police doing a cover-up now and extra-judicial killings.

      If you are Asian and under 60, and/or wearing black -> there is a very good chance you are going to cop a random beating. Either from police, or folks in white or blue (stay away from North Point - where I currently live :(

      Another riot and police were chatting, joking with the aggressors. Police will protect the folks in white, but will really wail on younger folks in black.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_Jw9U5fTN4

      Police Inspector attempting to say that his officers were kicking a 'yellow object', not a person. Then said the videos were fake. Then a high-res video came out - with the witness heard telling the police to stop, because they were being filmed. They attempt to disrupt recording by shining bright lights at the camera. But the police don't give a (profanity). They can get away with murder. Then the Inspector said the level of police response was appropriate. The old codger is like 60+ churchey person and doesn't need to be dragged off to a back alley by 40+ cops in riot gear.
      https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/09/23/video-protect-kids-pro...
      https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3030564...
      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/24/world/asia/hong-kong-yell...

      They've done stuff before - and some arrests. Hence the reason a lot of people wear face masks.
      https://www.hongkongfp.com/2015/10/15/breaking-seven-police-...

      Police have been caught torturing a suspect in a hospital -> got caught because they didn't realize there was a camera recording.
      https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/30...

      Police caught in video planting weapons on people.
      https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/08/article/hk-police-deny-fra...
      https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3022592...

      Police frequently abuse civilians - calling them cockroaches, etc. Walking around, attempting to video people in restaurants, etc. I guess they are attempting to get more facial recognition scans.
      Commander reminds staff not to call people cockroaches - to no avail…
      https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/08/30/hong-kong-police-assis...

      I've seen a random 'undercover' or plain clothes waving his gun around in the middle of the road on a video. Very poor discipline.
      The Chief executive of Hong Kong held a 'meet the people' dialogue session, randomly drawn citizens. Around 80% of the participants held negative views towards the government. I thought they would get a room full of stooges, but it really did look like a random drawing… Of course, there is probably a bias of people who wanted to attend.

      Random protestors could be police.
      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/22/world/hong-kong-police-pr...

      There's other videos online of police wailing on a student. One of the online news organisations pieced together a whole heap of video footage and showed him walking around normally, then when everyone was running, he ran and was caught and clobbered by police.

      There are pockets of Beijing/pro-government folks about google 'blue ribbons'.

      Certain areas are very pro-China / pro government, you may get hit by caustic material thrown from buildings/apartments if you are out and about.

      There was breakout of singing in various malls, which is pretty interesting to see / hear. Then the blue-ribbons (pro Chinese took) over another mall and started singing the national anthem and waving Chinese flags and started scuffling/wailing on black protesters. Cops came in an arrested the folks in black, when it clear from the social media videos who the aggressors where

      Other times, blue-ribbons instigate fights / assault civilians / protesters. Then the police come in and hold onto the victim until they say they won't press charges, and escort the aggressor away.

      The police force has a circa 20% approval rating. Depending on which circles you travel in, the blue-ribbons are most likely those 20% see no evil, because the police do their bidding…

      In my office, there's probably a 90-95% protest approval. People took time off during the early protests, social media posts, wearing black to the office, etc. If you don't understand Canto, there's a lot happening behind the scenes. Large corporations were generally okay with people exercising their right to protest. Now it's a very slippery time for corporations. Former CEO of Cathay was asked to name all staff that supported protests - the rumor is that he put only his name down (plus the head of HR). ymmv.

      There's videos of older blue-ribbons trying to throw younger folks over pedestrian bridges during scuffles/fights.

      There's probably a huge generational shift - a lot of the younger folks don't see themselves as Chinese (sub 30) and don't trust government, nor police (which is an extension of the government). The police don't uphold the laws neutrally, they are very selective on what laws they uphold and who the apply laws to and the use of force.

      ymmv

      •  

        Salute to jumbo jones. It was one of the best comments I have ever seen from an expat point of view! Stay safe.

        I grew up in HK and left in early 2000.
        Just went back this August and it was already getting worst then.

        I strongly suggest people who have no business in HK to stay away from it.

        The best could happen to you is a relatively cheaper holiday where a lot of facilities could close early at night or weekend, even public transport like MTR.

        Be prepared to back a bit late like I did when the Airport got closed down due to protestors occupying. It is one of their strategies and it could happen any day.

        What is worst is that, you, like the local, could get seriously hurt, arrested or die if you are in the wrong time and wrong place. Seen a video of a Police pushed a Caucasian lady to a concrete floor and left like nothing happened. Many reports the HK Police would escalate the situation when they clash with protestors, just in order to beat them up and arrest them for no legal reason. FYI HK Police did fire a shot at point-blank distance at a 17yr old kid when that kid's weapon was just a plastic stick (https://youtu.be/PN4MvOrPotk?t=70)

        Also if the HK government deemed certain act or day as "Riot" and you got injured or financially disadvantage because of it, good luck with your travel insurance as many of those don't cover situations like war or riot.

        This is one of the worst times to go HK. Don't and be safe if you must.

        • +2 votes

          The weapon looked like a steel rod. Don't want to be shot, don't attack the police with (steel or plastic) rods or throw molotov petrol bombs at them. The police did absolutely nothing wrong. Pretty simple advice to the OP.

          Every major protest in British Hong Kong resulted in mass killings. The 2019 protest is amazing in comparison. Wake up.

      • -1 vote

        One of the best and comprehensive summary I have seen.

  • +1 vote

    I wax there last weekend. All of the hotels are warned where the trouble will be each weekend. It appears Monday to Thursday nights are relatively safe. As with any city, be careful where you are.

    Personality, I don't like Hong Kong and haven't since my first visit in 2002.i would never suggest it for anything more than changing planes. Crap as a tourist spot and a rip off for shopping (with the exception of cosmetics, where it is cheaper due to no tax on it).

    If you go, try to enjoy your holiday and take care.

  •  

    Is it worth going to Hong Kong now? No, why should you considering the present on going chaotic situation , and the fare of $500.00 is afterall not that cheap either. Often one can get below $500.00 for a return trip from Melbourne.My opinion: don’t go now.

  •  

    I'd check the Smart Traveller website first before most any international travel:

    https://smartraveller.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx

    Local knowledge is the best though.

  • +6 votes

    Ignored my friends' advice and flew to HK last Thursday with my wife for a short spontaneous holiday (we bought tickets less than 12 hours before the flight). Stayed at Novotel on Nathan Rd near Jordan MTR station. Came back yesterday.

    During our stay we haven't seen a single protestor and had a great time in HK. The protests usually happen on weekends and near Admiralty on HK Island. Although that's not guaranteed; on the day we were leaving a guy was shot not very far from our hotel.

    Hotel staff is usually aware if something is planned and could advise us. For example, we were leaving on October 1st when plenty of activity was expected. The staff advised us about that and suggested to leave the area earlier and plan to be at the airport 4-6 hours before the flight.

    On weekends we avoided any possible public activitiy by going away to Lantau Island, Macau and Shenzhen for a day.

    •  

      How was Shenzhen? Good day out? Easy to cross the border?

      • +2 votes

        Border crossing is easy. Train from Hung Hom is less than an hour. Australians can get 5 days visa for about $35 on the spot, but you may miss the office as signs are not very clear. The market (if you are into shopping) is just next to train station.

        I've been to Shenzhen 25 years ago, so it was nice to go back and see the changes and try Chinese food with real Chinese service (if you are into that extreme :) ). Wife wanted to do some shopping. So it was a good day trip for us.

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