Flights resume after second night of chaos at Hong Kong airport
Our live coverage of the Hong Kong airport protests has ended. Read more about the ongoing crisis here.
Liu Chung Yin, a 30-year-old who was named previously in court, is one of the two pilots terminated by Cathay Pacific Group, a source within the company told CNN on Wednesday. Liu's legal counsel confirmed the report to CNN as well.
Liu appeared at Eastern Magistrates Court on July 31, charged with rioting on July 28. He did not enter a plea at this stage of Hong Kong's legal process but his name, age and occupation as a pilot was disclosed in open court, as customary on first appearance.
The Magistrate charged Liu, among 44 other protesters.
A member of Liu's legal counsel, who did not wish to be named, told CNN that he was given an exemption to allow him to leave the country, to fulfill his role as a pilot. However, two weeks after the hearing, Liu was fired by the airline, along with another unnamed pilot.
Liu posted $128 USD bail, and must abide by a curfew — midnight to 6 a.m. local time — daily, and report to the police once a week.
The crowd at a religious gathering in Hong Kong on Wednesday shone lasers on the police station and blocked the roads, a CNN crew on the ground witnessed.
Police got on a megaphone and told people to clear the area.
Context: According to Hong Kong law, religious gatherings — unlike protests — do not require police permissions.
This is one reason anti-government protesters have been using the name of this Buddhist festival to organize a gathering. Telegram groups that have been giving out protest information are calling on people to join this religious gathering near the Sham Shui Po police station.
As sweeping protests persist in Hong Kong, satellite imagery purports to show Chinese military vehicles gathering in Shenzen, near Hong Kong’s border with mainland China.
Recently-arrived vehicles can be seen at the Shenzen Bay Sports Center, just across the harbor from Hong Kong.
A CNN team on the ground in Shenzhen witnessed large numbers of uniformed members of the People’s Armed Police Force Wednesday evening, carrying riot shields and batons.
An officer told CNN the troops had arrived for a temporary assignment, staying at the sports stadium. The officer did not confirm why the troops were stationed there.
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The US State Department is urging China to allow Hong Kong to "exercise a high degree of autonomy."
"We condemn violence and urge all sides to exercise restraint, but remain staunch in our support for freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly in Hong Kong," a department spokesperson said in a statement.
The statement comes after increased speculation that Chinese troops could enter Hong Kong to help stop the continuing protests in that city.
Keep in mind: There is no indication that Chinese military is set to imminently enter Hong Kong. However, state media has repeatedly brought up that possibility.
Read the full State Department statement:
“The United States is deeply concerned by reports of Chinese paramilitary movement along the Hong Kong border. The United States strongly urges Beijing to adhere to its commitments in the Sino-British Joint Declaration to allow Hong Kong to exercise a high degree of autonomy. As the President noted, we urge all sides to engage peacefully and refrain from violence. We encourage China and all parties in Hong Kong to pursue a solution that respects the liberty of Hongkongers and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, as enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration. It is important for the Hong Kong Government to respect the freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly, as enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and for China to respect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy. We condemn violence and urge all sides to exercise restraint, but remain staunch in our support for freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly in Hong Kong. The ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong reflect the sentiment of Hongkongers and their broad and legitimate concerns about the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy. We categorically reject the false charge of foreign forces as the black hand behind the protests. The continued erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy puts at risk its long-established special status in international affairs.”
A CNN team on the ground in Shenzhen, China, witnessed large numbers of uniformed members of the People’s Armed Police Force (also known as PAP) Wednesday, carrying riot shields and batons just miles away from Hong Kong on the mainland China side of the border.
The PAP, which is under the command of China’s central military commission, is the 1.5 million-member paramilitary force the government regularly deploys to quell protests within its borders.
A PAP officer told CNN the troops had just arrived for a temporary assignment, staying at the sports stadium where they were filmed. The officer did not confirm why the troops were stationed there.
Why this matters: There has been increased speculation recently that Chinese troops could enter Hong Kong to help stop the continuing protests in that city.
President Trump tweeted Tuesday that the US had seen Chinese troop buildups near the border, though it’s unclear if these are the troops he was referring to.
Remember: There is NO indication that Chinese military or PAP members are set to imminently enter Hong Kong. However, state media has repeatedly brought up that possibility and propaganda videos of soldiers training in makeshift riot scenes have been heavily promoted by the government in the mainland.
Protesters and police are facing off right now in Hong Kong's Sham Shui Po area, a residential area. The demonstrators were gathered outside a police station in the district for a religious laser vigil when the skirmish started.
Tonight's clash comes a day after protesters and police clashed at Hong Kong's airport.
CNN's Paula Handcocks said that while the location of the protests has shifted, the movement is not over.
"This protest is by no means over. The authorities may have moved them from the airport itself, but now it's elsewhere," Hancocks said.
Police and protesters are facing off in Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong, according to CNN teams on the ground.
A religious laser vigil was taking place when the clash started.
Cathay Pacific Airways released a press release Wednesday stating that it has terminated two pilots without disclosing the reason. However a well-placed source within the company tells CNN the pilots were fired in association with activities related to on-going Hong Kong protests.
Cathay’s statement did not name the two pilots.
In a memo to staff Monday, the company said it “has a zero tolerance approach to illegal activities” and that it will comply with China’s ban on company staff who participated and supported protests in Hong Kong.
The company source tells CNN that one of the pilots terminated was charged with rioting in Hong Kong and had been suspended from duty since July 30.