My Take

Airport sit-in a vain attempt by Hong Kong’s pan-democrats to show displeasure towards CY

If flight security was the protesters real concern, demonstrators could have parked themselves outside Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s office rather than inconvenience travellers at city’s only airport

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 April, 2016, 1:26am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 May, 2016, 8:36pm

I don’t know what threatened airport security more: retrieving a piece of left luggage for the chief executive’s daughter or organising thousands of people to jam-pack into the main arrival hall of Hong Kong’s only airport.

At best, the protest on Sunday, ostensibly organised by the Hong Kong Cabin Crew Federation, caused serious inconvenience to travellers. At worst, it took away police and security resources that could have been deployed to detect crime and guard against potential terrorism.

The federation, part of the pan-democratic Confederation of Trade Unions, claimed the protest was not political, and that it was only concerned with ensuring flight security. If that’s true, it’s a strange way to demonstrate concern – by compromising security further.

The federation said 2,500 people took part; police estimated only 1,000. But even the federation admitted only 10 per cent of crew members participated in the rally. The rest was all made up of the usual pan-democratic suspects – the Civic Party, the League of Social Democrats, myriad localist groups, and their supporters.

‘I hate abuse of privilege’: Leung Chun-ying criticised over daughter’s left luggage saga

The controversy followed reports that in late March, Cathay Pacific employees helped Leung Chun-ying’s youngest daughter retrieve a bag she had left behind in the departure hall when she was already at the boarding gate. Leung spoke to airport staff to help his daughter.

Airport officials said the bag was scanned and checked by airport security. The Airport Authority is preparing a report on the incident for the government. It should release the full report to the public to address any lingering doubts.

However, if security was the real concern, the protesters could have rallied outside Leung’s office in Admiralty and the Civil Aviation Department. Instead, the pan-dems, using cabin crew members as a front and wanting to attract maximum publicity, preferred to take over the airport’s arrival hall. What major city would tolerate that happening in a major airport? Probably only in Hong Kong.

Clearly, the strategy is that if they can’t vote Leung out of office, they will protest and riot to force him out. That tends to happen to unpopular leaders when there is freedom but not full democracy. I just wish the pan-dems wouldn’t hold the rest of us hostage by occupying major public transport hubs like the airport.

Watch: Up to 2,500 cabin crew and supporters rally against Hong Kong leader CY Leung at airport