Flights resuming at Hong Kong airport after protest chaos

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Policemen arrest a protester during a clash at the Airport in Hong Kong on Aug. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
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Anti-Extradition bill protesters are seen on the check-in counter during a mass demonstration at the Hong Kong international airport on August 13, 2019. (REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)
Updated 14 August 2019

Flights resuming at Hong Kong airport after protest chaos

  • A mass demonstration and frenzied mob violence forced more than 100 flight cancelations on Tuesday
  • The burst of violence included protesters beating up at least two men they suspected of being undercover Chinese agents

HONG KONG: Flight operations resumed at Hong Kong’s airport Wednesday morning after two days of disruptions marked by outbursts of violence highlighting the hardening positions of pro-democracy protesters and the authorities in the Chinese city that’s a major international travel hub.
About three dozen protesters remained camped in the airport’s arrivals area, a day after a mass demonstration and frenzied mob violence forced more than 100 flight cancelations. But check-in counters were open and flights appeared to be operating normally.
The airport had closed check-in for remaining flights late Tuesday afternoon as protesters swarmed the terminal and blocked access to immigration for departing passengers. Tuesday’s cancelations were in addition to 200 flights backlogged from Monday.
Most of the protesters left after officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons tried to enter the terminal, fighting with demonstrators who barricaded entrances with luggage carts. Riot police clashed briefly with the demonstrators.
The burst of violence included protesters beating up at least two men they suspected of being undercover Chinese agents. Airport security appeared unable to control the crowd, and paramedics later took both men away. Police have acknowledged using “decoy” officers, and some protesters over the weekend were seen being arrested by men dressed like demonstrators — in black and wearing face masks.
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, identified one of the men as a journalist at the nationalistic Chinese tabloid.
“Fu Guohao, reporter of GT website is being seized by demonstrators at HK airport,” Hu wrote on his Twitter account. “I affirm this man being tied in this video is the reporter himself. He has no other task except for reporting.”
One protester used a US flag to beat Fu as he lay on the floor. Other protesters and first aid workers attempted to stop some who tried to trample the man, while pro-democracy lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki crouched beside him and tried to calm the attackers. After a heated argument, protesters allowed ambulance workers to take the man away on a stretcher.
Hong Kong police said they arrested five people for unlawful assembly, assaulting police officers and possessing weapons.
The airport disruptions escalated a summer of demonstrations aimed at what many Hong Kong residents see as an increasing erosion of the freedoms they were promised in 1997 when Communist Party-ruled mainland China took over what had been a British colony.
The demonstrators are demanding Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam step down and scrap proposed legislation under which some suspects could be sent to mainland China, where critics say they could face torture and unfair or politically charged trials.
Lam has rejected calls for dialogue, saying Tuesday the protesters were threatening to push their home into an “abyss.”


Bangladesh MP caught cheating in public exam

Updated 46 sec ago

Bangladesh MP caught cheating in public exam

  • Her alleged deception came to light when a local TV station entered the exam hall and confronted one of the lookalikes during the exam

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi MP accused of sending proxy candidates to take her place in a public exam may lose her seat if found guilty of cheating and face criminal charges, officials told Arab News on Tuesday.

It is alleged that Tamanna Nusrat, who was studying for a bachelor’s degree at Bangladesh Open University (BOU), sent lookalikes at least 13 times to the exam hall on her behalf. 

A four-member investigation team at the university is probing the matter.

Her alleged deception came to light when a local TV station entered the exam hall and confronted one of the lookalikes during the exam. The clip went viral on social media.

Nusrat, who is from the ruling Awami League party and holds one of 50 parliamentary seats reserved for women, was unavailable for comment when contacted by Arab News.

“We have already cancelled the enrolment of the alleged candidate as she committed a crime and she has been permanently expelled from the university,” Prof. M. A. Mannan, BOU vice chancellor, told Arab News.

“Our committee visited the examination centre on Tuesday. We are trying to find out how it happened repeatedly ... if Nusrat is found guilty we will file a criminal case against her.”

He said the principal of the college, who was in charge of the exam hall, could not evade responsibility.

“If necessary we will go for stern action against the college principal also as it has tarnished the good will of our university.”

But locals said they were aware of the Nusrat lookalikes. 

“I have information from my cousin who was also in the exam at the same hall,” one resident told Arab News. “Although I shared the information with my close associates, we couldn’t do anything against these irregularities as it involves a member of Parliament who is holding much influence.”

The Awami League has come down hard on the lookalike allegations, with Deputy Minister of Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury saying “no mercy” would be shown.

“Our party will not take any responsibility for any misdeeds or crime committed by the individual or party members,” he told Arab News. “I have asked the university management to run the enquiry independently without any fear and if she is found guilty the university authorities will file a criminal case in this regard.” 

 

He added: “Cheating in public exams is a criminal offense according to the law of the country. If she is convicted by the court eventually she will lose her membership in Parliament.”

Women’s participation in Bangladesh politics is still low, even though the ruling party and opposition are led by women. The total number of women currently in Parliament is 72.

Prime Minister and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina has led the country four times, while arch-rival Khaleda Zia has been prime minister three times.