Date
15 December 2017
The vehicles carrying Zhang Dejiang and his entourage were allowed to drive in an opposite direction to traffic flow on roads in Hong Kong. Photo: Facebook
The vehicles carrying Zhang Dejiang and his entourage were allowed to drive in an opposite direction to traffic flow on roads in Hong Kong. Photo: Facebook

Excessive security for Zhang visit disrupts Hongkongers’ lives

Zhang Dejiang may have finished his visit to the city, but the disruptive effects of the extensive security measures undertaken by police have left a bad taste in many Hongkongers’ mouths.

On the third and last day of the “inspection tour” by Zhang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, those measures continued to stir up a public uproar over the inconvenience they caused, hk01.com reported Thursday.

As Zhang visited a home for the elderly and a newly built public housing estate in Tseung Kwan O on Thursday morning, traffic jams could be seen everywhere along the Eastern Corridor and the Eastern Harbour Crossing after police shut down major road junctions.

Motorists and passengers in Island East district and East Kowloon complained about the severe congestion.

Photos of long traffic lineups were uploaded to many Facebook groups by disgruntled drivers.

Westbound traffic on the Eastern Corridor was already stuck at Taikoo Shing early in the morning.

Police also closed the Tsing Ma Bridge to traffic when Zhang’s motorcade arrived at around noon.

Earlier, members of the new political party Demosistō, including chairman Nathan Law Kwun-chung and secretary general Joshua Wong Chi-fung, walked into the roadway of the Eastern Corridor in an attempt to stop Zhang’s car.

However, they were stopped and arrested by police on suspicion of improper behavior in public and were taken to Kwun Tong Police Station, a post on Demosistō’s Facebook page said.

In Tseung Kwan O, signs carrying ironic messages saying “The residents of Tseung Kwan O welcome Comrade Zhang Dejiang in paralyzing major roads” could be seen on the outside of public footbridges and streetside railings.

On Wednesday, Zhang’s motorcade was seen traveling in the opposite direction to the normal flow of traffic outside the Hong Kong Science Park, drawing heavy criticism from netizens over the blatant breach of local traffic regulations.

Notwithstanding the criticism, the motorcade was again seen driving in the opposite direction to traffic flow when he visited the home for the elderly in Po Lam on Thursday.

Apple Daily reported that owners of restaurants in Wan Chai cursed their luck, as the district was designated as a core security zone by the police, driving away customers as a result.

A manager surnamed Leung said his restaurant on Jaffe Road in Wan Chai was heavily affected, having lost at least HK$2,000 (US$258) in business during the afternoon tea period each day Zhang was in the city.

“We have to pay the rent every day, so it is best the national leaders do not visit Hong Kong,” Leung said.

Another restaurant owner said there were simply no orders for food delivery from the buildings near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center and the Revenue Tower.

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EL/AC/FL

A message saying “The residents of Tseung Kwan O welcome Comrade Zhang Dejiang in paralyzing major roads” is seen on a footbridge as traffic jams spread across the city. Photos: Facebook/Cheung Kwok Kuen, TKO Friends, driving.habits.hk


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