At approximately 0130 local time on 20 August 2019 (1730 UTC on 19 August), an assailant armed with a knife stabbed three people at a “Lennon Wall” -- an area where individuals may anonymously post messages in support of the ongoing anti-government protest movement -- located in Tseung Kwan O in Hong Kong’s Kowloon area. The perpetrator attacked the victims, who were reportedly activists involved in the anti-government movement, following a dispute with them. Two of the victims suffered minor stab wounds, but the third remains in critical condition. Police officers arrested the assailant at approximately 1500 local time.
A number of protests are planned in Hong Kong throughout this week, beginning at 0730 local time on 21 August with a non-cooperation movement at Lai King, Kowloon Tong and Fortress Hill Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations. Previous non-cooperation movements caused disruptions to MTR services, and disruptions are possible at the aforementioned MTR stations on 21 August. Additionally, a sit-in is planned at the Yuen Long MTR station between 1900 and 2300 local time to protest against an attack staged by organized crime groups against demonstrators on 21 July.
On 22 August students plan to rally from 1500-1930 local time at Edinburg Place in Central. Whether authorities have approved this protest is not currently known, nor is there any information available regarding the expected turnout.
On 23 August accountants plan to march from Chater Garden in Central to the Central Government Complex -- which is located approximately 1.5 km (1 mi) to the east -- from 1230-1600 local time. Meanwhile, Christian groups plan to gather at Chater Garden on the same day from 1900-2100 local time. Also on 23 August, protesters plan to form human chains along sidewalks spanning the Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong and Island MTR lines beginning at 1900 local time. The lines cross through Hong Kong Island, New Territories and Kowloon.
There are unconfirmed reports that demonstrators may seek to conduct a “stress test” of airport traffic at Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG) on 24 August. However, there are no indications that protesters plan to gather at the airport. As a precaution, travelers should allow extra time to reach the airport.
On 25 August a protest is planned in Kwun Tong from 1300-1600 local time. The protest route runs from Hoi Bun Road to Kowloon Bay. Organizers stated that they expect approximately 4,000 attendees. A separate rally is planned from Kwai Chung sports ground to Tsuen Wan park, which is located approximately 2.5 km to the northwest, from 1430-2030 local time. Meanwhile, relatives of Hong Kong police officers plan to hold a pro-government rally in Edinburgh Place in Central from 1400-1800 local time.
Analyst Comment: Hong Kong authorities have not yet approved several of these events, and at present they should be considered tentatively scheduled. In addition to the aforementioned protests, impromptu demonstrations are also likely to occur in other areas of Hong Kong, and can result in violence. Clashes between protesters and police officers are more likely at spontaneous protests as well as following the conclusion of planned protests at night. Authorities have increasingly shown a willingness to use force, such as firing tear gas, with very little warning. Travelers should avoid all gatherings in Hong Kong as a precaution, and should avoid wearing dark clothing so as not to be confused with protesters.