Airport chiefs on Monday ordered all carriers to cancel flights out of Hong Kong for the rest of the day, after thousands of anti-government protesters descended on the airport.
Flights already in the air would be allowed to land. It was unclear how long cancellations would go on for.
The demonstration marked the fourth straight day of protests at the Lantau Island hub, one of the world’s busiest international airports, as anti-government anger continued.
On Sunday, clashes between protesters and police escalated, with the two camps playing cat-and-mouse across districts including Tsim Sha Tsui, Sham Shui Po, Kwai Chung and Causeway Bay. The night ended with unprecedented scenes inside MTR stations as officers unleashed tear gas inside Kwai Fong station and charged protesters inside Tai Koo station.
Among 40 people who ended up in hospital was a woman reportedly hit with a beanbag round in Tsim Sha Tsui. A doctor familiar with her case said she could lose her right eye.
From noon on Monday, the Airport Authority upped security at Hong Kong International Airport, with access to the departure hall of Terminal 1 restricted to passengers with travel documents and air tickets valid for the following 24 hours.
By 3pm, thousands of protesters had joined a sit-in at the arrivals hall. Some of them were wearing eye patches to show their anger at what happened to the female protester who was injured.