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Hong Kong braces for airport protest after night of violent clashes

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong announced new curbs on rail travel on Sunday (Sep 22) ahead of the latest in a series of planned protests targeting the airport after a night of widespread violent street clashes in the Chinese-ruled territory.

"In view of the calls for attempts to block traffic to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) today, Airport Authority Hong Kong has activated the Airport Emergency Centre and has been working closely with the airport community and public transport operators to implement special measures to ensure the smooth operations of HKIA and passengers journeys being unaffected," the authority said in its statement.

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The Airport Express train, which takes passengers under the harbour and across a series of bridges to the airport, built on reclaimed land around an outlying island, will only allow passengers to board in downtown Hong Kong on Sunday, not on the Kowloon peninsula, the Airport Authority said.

Only people holding tickets would be allowed to enter the terminal, it added.

"There are calls online for using fake boarding passes, fake air tickets or fake flight booking information to enter the terminal buildings … The Airport Authority reminds that such behaviour could amount to forgery or using false instrument," it said.

Anti-government protesters have targeted the airport before, occupying the arrivals hall, blocking approach roads and setting street fires in the nearby town of Tung Chung.

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“The airport is still the most important asset to the government," said a 23-year-old protester on Saturday who only gave her name as Kay.

READ: Hong Kong police fire tear gas to break up protesters in Tuen Mun

READ: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

"We will adopt hit-and-run tactics and each time help us to gain experience. Thats why I am still calling people to the airport."

Sunday's protest is due to start at noon (0400 GMT).

Riot police officers are seen on the street in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, China September 21, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

The violence has hit pockets of Hong Kong at different times over more than three months, allowing life to go on as normal for the vast majority most of the time.

But pictures of petrol bombs and street clashes broadcast worldwide present a huge headache for Beijing just days ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic on Oct 1.

READ: Hong Kong a 'police state,' prominent protesters tell AFP

READ: Hong Kong airport announces special measures for rail services as protesters plan to block traffic

The Hong Kong government has already called off a big fireworks display to mark the day in case of further clashes. China, which has a People's Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong, has said it has faith in Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to solve the crisis.

Police fired tear gas to disperse pro-democracy protesters who threw petrol bombs in two new towns on Saturday after pro-China groups pulled down some of the "Lennon Walls" of anti-government messages. Th

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