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Sabotaging rail networks, disrupting airport operation in Hong Kong "barbaric, unacceptable": transport secretary

(Xinhua)    16:15, September 03, 2019

HONG KONG, Sept. 2 -- The transport secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Monday condemned rioters for vandalizing dozens of railway stations and disrupting the airport operation at the weekend, saying such acts are "barbaric" and "absolutely unacceptable."

Frank Chan, the secretary for transport and housing, expressed his strong indignation at rioters and radical protesters over their "barbaric acts" that disregarded the safety of others in violation of an interim injunction order.

The malicious vandalism of railway facilities by rioters has caused "unprecedented damages" to a large number of facilities, posing threats to the personal safety of passengers and staffs of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), Chan told a press conference.

He said 32 MTR stations, or about one-third of all MTR stations in Hong Kong, were vandalized by rioters on Saturday, forcing the suspension of service along five MTR lines.

Rioters also sabotaged facilities at 15 MTR stations on Sunday, smashing surveillance cameras, ticket machines and control rooms, maliciously throwing metals onto rail tracks of the airport express line, Chan noted.

"Such acts are extremely dangerous because they could lead to serious railway accidents and pose grave threats to the lives of passengers," he warned, adding that he believed that everyone of the society could see from media reports how severely the railway networks had been damaged at the weekend.

After the escalation of violence in Hong Kong on Saturday, the black-clad radical protesters who wore masks and helmets defied a court injunction order and brought chaos and vandalism to Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday, blocking access routes and forcing the shutdown of the MTR's Tung Chung line and the Disneyland Resort Line.

Due to the vandalism, the airport express line was suspended for six hours between 16:30 to 22:30, while the bus service linking the downtown areas in Central with the airport was also limited by the roadblocks built by radical protesters.

During their rampage, a large group of radical protesters threw iron sticks, bricks and stones into the rails on Sunday, while rioters smashed MTR station facilities and intruded into the tracks.

The rampage caused the cancellation of 25 passenger flights and the delay of another 200 flights, with thousands of travellers stranded.

Some travellers arriving in Hong Kong were forced to walk on the main road, dragging their suitcases all the way to Tung Chung and then onto the North Lantau Highway to Sunny Bay.

The violent demonstrations also seriously affected the normal life of residents living on Lantau Island, where the airport is located.

After days of disturbance and violence by unlawful assemblies at the airport, the airport authority obtained an interim injunction from the court on Aug. 13 to restrain persons from unlawfully and willfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of the airport.

The court extended the interim injunction at the airport on Aug. 23 and announced that the order would maintain the status quo until trial or further order of the court.

MTR service returned to normal on Monday morning after overnight efforts to repair the vandalized facilities.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Hongyu)

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