Hong Kong traffic returning to normal after strike chaos leads to transport disruption, police station sieges and tear gas dispersals

Elizabeth Cheung

The transport network in Hong Kong gradually returned to normal on Tuesday morning, after a citywide strike and raging protests on Monday plunged city traffic into chaos.

Major highways, including the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, were clear, while rail and bus operators have resumed normal services.

However, transport authorities have warned the public to take “utmost care” on the roads as some traffic lights were damaged and not working properly.

The government “strongly condemned” protester behaviour, including blocking roads and disrupting train services, in a statement published in the early hours of Tuesday.

Protesters unleash chaos across Hong Kong in citywide rampage

“The protesters’ organised acts disregarded law and order, deprived the right of other members of the public to go to work and carry on their daily lives, and seriously affected economic activities,” a government spokesman said.

City transport came to a standstill on Monday, with major MTR lines paralysed by full or partial suspensions, a cross-harbour tunnel shut down, major highways in Admiralty, Wong Tai Sin and Tuen Mun blocked, and hundreds of flights at Hong Kong International Airport cancelled.

MTR services were in disarray on Monday when groups of anti-government protesters blocked train doors at four key stations and interchanges. Eight MTR lines were badly affected, leading to confrontations between demonstrators and passengers.

While trains skipped four stations on Monday night on the Tsuen Wan line – Lai Chi Kok, Cheung Sha Wan, Sham Shui Po and Kwai Fong – the latest information from the MTR website showed that all lines had good services on Tuesday morning.

Anti-government protesters blocked a road in North Point on Monday. Photo: Winson Wong

According to the Transport Department’s latest announcement at 7.08am, sections of five roads in Kowloon were closed to traffic: Sai Yee Street, Hak Po Street, Pak Po Street, Shantung Street and Nelson Street.

The department advised the public that some traffic lights in the city were damaged and were not functioning normally.

“Motorists should pay attention to the road situation, in particular the respective junctions with damaged traffic lights, and drive with utmost care on these affected road sections,” the department said on its HKeMobility mobile app.

Commuters, businesses take hit from Hong Kong’s anti-government strike

No specific traffic announcement was made on the sections of Kowloon roads near the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, which was blocked several times by protesters on Monday.

Live traffic data from Google Map showed roads were open as usual, as of 6.30am on Tuesday.

Bus operators KMB, New World First Bus and Citybus said all their routes have resumed services taking their original routes.

The citywide strike and ensuing protests on Monday, which covered at least seven districts, came on the third day of major unrest in Hong Kong in a row, triggered by the extradition bill.

The draft legislation, which has been shelved, would have allowed the transfer of criminal suspects to mainland China and other jurisdictions with which the city does not have an extradition agreement.

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