Vivian K.Cheung, deputy director of Hong Kong International Airport visits Fu Guohao, Global Times reporter at a hospital in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province. Photo: Chen Qingqing/GT

 Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) apologized for the insulting and violent treatment meted out to Global Times reporter Fu Guohao by radical black-clad protesters at the airport premises on Tuesday night and vowed to take due measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“I, on behalf of the AAHK, express deep regret about the extremely inappropriate act on Mr. Fu Guohao two days ago,” Fred Lam, chief executive of AAHK, said in a written letter handed over to Fu by AAHK staff on Thursday.

Fu, a reporter of the Global Times website, was attacked by rioters when he was performing reporting tasks. Radical protesters besieged Fu, claiming they suspected Fu of being a fake reporter. Then they searched Fu’s bag, beat and tied him up. The assault lasted nearly an hour before medical personnel took him away.

Violent protesters had occupied the Hong Kong international airport since Friday and staged various illegal protests. Most flights departing and inbound of Hong Kong were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday due to disturbances caused by violent protests.

The Global Times contacted the AAHK for a face-to-face interview on Monday after it announced the cancellation of flights but the request was denied.

On Tuesday right after Fu was attacked, the Global Times contacted the AAHK again trying to ask why the airport had allowed such violence to happen and what measures, if any, they had taken or will take to prevent such incidents from happening again.

On Thursday, Cathy Cheung, senior manager of media relations of corporate communications of AAHK, told the Global Times that the airport applied the court for an injunction order after Monday’s illegal assembly, and it only got the order on Wednesday. 

She said the temporary order will be effective till August 23 and a permanent order is expected to be issued. Meanwhile, the airport has undertaken measures to manage the entry and exit of passengers into the airport premises.

Some industry representatives criticized the airport authority’s response to the illegal protests for being passive and slow. “The airport authority did not give a proper treatment in a timely manner, hurting the confidence of travelers,” Guo Ning, a Guangzhou-based veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

Under the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, there are more options for travelers such as high-speed trains if travelers have concerns about their safety when they visit Hong Kong, the analyst said. 

“It’s time for Hong Kong airport to restore the confidence of travelers,” he said.