Pandemonium broke out at Hokkaido’s New Chitose Airport as airport staff and police officers prevented about 100 Chinese tourists from forcing their way through the boarding gate after their flights were canceled due to a severe snowstorm.
The incident, which happened at around 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve, was captured on video and reported by several Japanese media outlets, Hong Kong-based website the standnews.com reports.
In the videos, angry Chinese tourists are seen rushing through the boarding gate area by jumping over the fence while airport staff and police officers push them back.
A female airport worker fell over while two Chinese women in their 30s reported feeling unwell.
Some of the tourists were reportedly admitted to hospital after sustaining bruises from the incident.
Around 11,600 tourists were stranded at the airport after their flights originally scheduled for Dec. 22 and 24 had been canceled due to heavy snowstorms, said to be the worst in the country in the past 50 years.
Some of the tourists had been stuck at the terminal for two days, awaiting their flights.
While some local news reports described the incident as “a riot”, Chinese news website huanqiu.com, a joint venture between People.com.cn and Global Times, said the Japanese reports were sensational and tried to put the blame on the Chinese tourists.
According to information received by the Chinese consulate-general in Sapporo, among those canceled were four Cathay Pacific flights scheduled for Dec. 24. Around 500 passengers, mostly tourists from Hong Kong and Macau, were affected.
Staff from the consulate-general distributed food, water and blankets to the affected Chinese tourists and offered other forms of assistance.
The Cathay Pacific passengers were able to depart on the night of Dec. 25.
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