British Columbia

Passengers arriving from Hong Kong describe tense scene at city's airport

Passengers arriving at YVR on one of the first flights from Hong Kong described the chaos at the city's airport as 'heartbreaking,' and 'scary.'

Vancouver arrivals left Hong Kong as protesters crowded terminals, shortly before clashes with police

Passengers from one of the first flights to arrive from Hong Kong since protests escalated at the city's airport walk into the arrivals lounge at YVR in Richmond. (CBC News)

Passengers on one of the first flights to land in Vancouver from Hong Kong since chaos erupted at the Chinese-controlled city's airport described a tense scene at the terminal before they took off.

Demonstrators and riot police clashed at Hong Kong International Airport late on Tuesday after flights were cancelled for a second day. 

The airport, one of the world's busiest, resumed operations on Wednesday, rescheduling hundreds of flights that had been disrupted over the past two days as protesters clashed with riot police in a deepening crisis in the city.

Ray Wong was one of the recently disembarked passengers who spoke to CBC News at Vancouver airport after their rescheduled flight landed around 11:30 a.m. PT Tuesday.

Wong said he, his wife and his six-year-old daughter arrived at Hong Kong airport Monday to see huge numbers of protestors filling the enormous halls.

Fear kicked in when they learned their flight to Vancouver was cancelled, he said.

Ray Wong, his wife and six-year-old left Hong Kong airport by foot and walked for an hour before someone offered to pick them up and drive them home. (CBC News)

"We were very worried — when will the police come and when will they take action?" he recalled.

He said after seeing tear gas and violence in Hong Kong's streets, his priority was getting out of the airport — but he couldn't find any way of doing so.

"No taxi, no bus, no train, no railway," he said.

The family of three, who were planning a visit to Vancouver, ended up leaving the airport by foot, and walked for an hour back toward the city before someone offered to pick them up and drive them home. Despite the disruption, Wong still sides with the protestors.

"I still worry, because Hong Kong is our home," he said.

Yvette Wang, a long-time Vancouverite, is hoping for a calm resolution to the tension in Hong Kong. (CBC News)

Yvette Wang, a long-time Vancouverite who was returning home from visiting friends and relatives in Hong Kong, said she's heartbroken over what is happening in the region.

"I think it's escalating, I think it's really scary," said Wang.

"I hope the government will say something so it will stop but it's not likely."

Wang said the protests she saw at the airport were mostly peaceful. 

Wang and Wong managed to reschedule their flights for Tuesday, and took off before clashes between police and demonstrators began.

On Wednesday, the airport authority said it had obtained "an interim injunction to restrain persons from unlawfully and willfully obstructing or interfering" with airport operations.

Some 21 countries and regions have issued travel safety alerts, saying the protests have become more violent and unpredictable.

With files from Reuters and Lien Yeung

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