Hong Kong protests: Elderly man shows there is room for dialogue as he helps to clear barricade for police van to leave airport

Anti-government protesters allowed the man to remove the makeshift barricade and reporters helped him carry the metal fence when he appeared exhausted by the effort

Wong Tsui-kai |

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A man surnamed Chan helped to clear away a barricade so a police van could leave the airport.

As anti-government demonstrations resulted in unprecedented violence at the Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday night, an elderly man showed that there is room for reason in the midst of tensions between the two camps.

A white-haired man wearing a suit helped to clear away a makeshift barricade that was preventing a police van from leaving the airport. He was seen single-handedly removing a metal fence from the road, and when he appeared to be exhausted, reporters who were filming helped him remove a second piece of fencing. Anti-government protesters did not try to stop him.

Protesters had placed the objects to block the police from leaving. The officers were called to the scene to help medics extract a man who had been restrained by protesters. 

The man, who later gave his surname as Chan to Now TV reporters said he was not an airport employee, just an ordinary citizen. 

Hong Kong protests: A wrap up of events at HK International Airport on August 13

“I am neutral, they have their stance, we have our stance,” he said. “I will not ‘cut the mat’ (a Chinese idiom meaning to distance yourself from someone) against them and I expect them to not do it against me.”

“Earlier there were a few white-shirted senior police officers who responded to requests to move away from an area. I believe that should be commended. If every officer did their duties like those officers, and if they controlled their subordinates, this scene would not have happened.” he said in an interview after the incident.

Chan said as a member of the elder generation and a parent, he felt he should stand in front of the young to protect them.