SINGAPORE - Singaporeans should defer non-essential travel to Hong Kong while those already in the city are advised to take precautions, in the wake of large-scale protests there, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Wednesday (Oct 30).
In a travel advisory posted on its website, MFA said that since June, the protests in Hong Kong have become increasingly unpredictable. The ministry also warned that they can take place with little or no notice, and could turn violent.
MFA cited two upcoming protests in Hong Kong on Thursday, saying that road closures and traffic disruptions in these areas are expected.
At the Prince Edward MTR station, a rally is expected on Thursday, with protesters likely to spill over into surrounding areas.
A march is also planned from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Lan Kwai Fong in Central.
The ministry advised Singaporeans in Hong Kong to stay vigilant, monitor developments through the local news, and heed the instructions of the local authorities.
Singaporeans should avoid the protests and large public gatherings, while maintaining contact with family and friends so their safety is known, it added.
Spanning more than seven months, the protests were a reaction to a controversial extradition Bill that would allow the Hong Kong authorities to extradite people to jurisdictions which Hong Kong has no formal extradition agreements with, including mainland China.
The protests have since morphed into a broader movement seeking universal suffrage and an independent probe into alleged police brutality, with no signs of subsiding even after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's withdrawal of the extradition Bill on Sept 4.
On Oct 23, the Bill was officially killed when Hong Kong's legislature formally withdrew the planned legislation, but experts said the move was unlikely to end the unrest as it met just one of five demands of pro-democracy protesters.
The protesters' other four demands are: an independent review of the police officer corps, an amnesty for all protesters arrested for rioting, universal suffrage for the legislative council and the currently appointed Chief Executive position, and the removal of the classification of "rioting" from those arrested.
MFA encouraged Singaporeans in Hong Kong to eRegister with the ministry so they can be contacted should the need arise.