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Liaoning aircraft carrier

91-year-old Hong Kong woman queues for hours in heat and rain to visit Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.... only to be told she is too ‘fragile’

But her son refused to give up and finally secured one of the 2,000 free tickets to board the Liaoning, which will arrive in Hong Kong on Friday and be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 July, 2017, 7:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 July, 2017, 7:57pm

It will be touch and go whether 91-year-old Mrs Tsang will get to visit China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, when it visits Hong Kong this weekend.

She was one of hundreds who braved the heat and occasional rain on Monday morning for the chance to visit the pride of the country’s navy.

Queue number system creates confusion as hundreds line up for tickets to see Liaoning aircraft carrier

Two hours into her wait at 7am at the Gun Hill Club barracks in Jordan, the nonagenarian was shocked to learn that she could not get a ticket because she was too fragile for the “dangerous” visit .

An officer from the local garrison of the People’s Liberation Army told her and her son: “It is too tall for you to climb up. It is too dangerous and I cannot give you a ticket.”

Her son, who gave his name only as Mr Tsang, told the officer: “I know. I am only getting my mother to get a ticket. Her daughter will come and collect it from her later. Just give us a queue number and we will replace it with someone else.”

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The officer relented and noted her identity card number and gave her a queue number to exchange for tickets later in the afternoon, but repeated his warning about the physical dangers.

Hongkongers camp out for tickets to tour Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning in first public viewing

The family finally secured their tickets at around 4.30pm. Tsang said he would leave it to his mother to decide if she should board the vessel.

“I don’t think I will let my mum go. Her legs are weak as well. But if she wants to, we will not stop her,” he said.

The family was among the hundreds of military fans scrambling for the 2,000 free tickets to board the Liaoning, which will arrive in Hong Kong on Friday and open to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

Many started queuing on Sunday evening outside the three barracks where the tickets were distributed. Only permanent Hong Kong identity card holders could register. Each could take up to two tickets.

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At the Central barracks where 800 tickets were issued, Lam Lai-kwan was last to get a ticket.

“I am really a lucky dog to get the last number which secures two tickets,” said Lam, who started queuing at 7am on Monday.

“At first, they counted and told me I was 411th, which meant it was very likely I could not get a lucky number,” she said. “But I didn’t give up and waited under the sun and the rain until the last minute!”