Australians planning on travelling to Hong Kong are being told to “exercise a high degree of caution” after the federal government upgraded its travel advice as pro-democracy protests continue to spark violent clashes.
“Protests have become more unpredictable and are expected to continue,” the the government’s Smart Traveller website says.
“Tourist areas have been affected. There is a risk of violent confrontation between protesters and police, or criminally-linked individuals, particularly at unauthorised protests.”
Australians have also been told the risks are greater at night and on weekends and are “strongly” urged to avoid large public gatherings.
China has warned it’s “only a matter of time” before it punishes those behind two months of pro-democracy protests that have increasingly devolved into violent clashes with law enforcement.
The protests began in response to Beijing’s plans to impose tough laws in the semi-autonomous state that would have allowed it to extradite Hong Kong residents to the mainland.
“We would like to make it clear to the very small group of unscrupulous and violent criminals and the dirty forces behind them: those who play with fire will perish by it,” Yang Guang, spokesman for the Chinese Cabinet’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, said on Tuesday.
“Don’t ever misjudge the situation and mistake our restraint for weakness.”