Canada increases travel warning for Hong Kong
Government warns travellers to exercise 'high degree of caution'
Canada has increased its travel advisory for Hong Kong due to the ongoing protests in the city, advising travellers to exercise "a high degree of caution."
People have been filling the streets of Hong Kong since June 9, angry over proposed extradition legislation that could have seen suspects sent to mainland China, where protesters say they could face torture and unfair politicized trials.
Though the legislation has since been suspended, the protests have since morphed into calls for broader democratic reforms in the former British colony, the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and investigations into alleged police abuse of force.
The move comes one day after the U.S. and Australia made similar updates to their travel alerts. Ireland, Britain and Japan having also issued travel advisories to their citizens.
Ottawa's advisory suggests Canadians exercise a high degree of caution at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities. It also advises people consult the Travel Advice and Advisories for Hong Kong for the latest updates, and to register before travelling with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
Hong Kong police say a total of 589 people have been arrested in the protests since the demonstrations began, ranging in age from 13 to 76. They face charges including rioting, which allows for prison terms of up to 10 years.
Police have fired tear gas, rubber bullets and other projectiles at protesters, with demonstrators responding with metal sticks, bricks, gasoline bombs and carts full of burning debris.
On several occasions, protesters have been attacked by unknown people believed to be linked to organized crime groups, while police took little action to stop them.
The central government in Beijing so far has not visibly intervened in the situation, though in editorials and public remarks it has condemned demonstrators and protest organizers as criminals, clowns and "violent radicals" and alleged that they have been inflamed by politicians from the U.S., Taiwan and elsewhere.
About 300,000 Canadians currently live in Hong Kong.
With files from The Associated Press