Vehicles deployed to worsen jams

Top News | Charlotte Luo and Daphne Li 13 Jun 2019

There was a complete halt in Admiralty for much of yesterday for road traffic heading west, with vehicles stopped dead in their tracks as a new tactic by opponents of the extradition bill made itself felt.

Central and Wan Chai were also hit hard as part of a guerrilla-style action to block roads in the heart of Hong Kong with staged breakdowns.

Traffic queues in Admiralty were a few kilometers long in the morning, and commuters got off buses in Wan Chai to walk to Admiralty and Central. At least 50 buses had to be rerouted.

The Labour Department called on companies to be considerate if staff arrived at work late because of the traffic conditions in Admiralty, Central and Wan Chai.

This came after anti-government activists suggested on social media that sympathetic motorists drive very slowly in Admiralty or have their vehicles "break down" in core areas.

A number of cars stopped in the middle of routes blocked traffic on the Wan Chai-bound lanes of Queensway shortly after 10.30am, and traffic was paralyzed for almost 30 minutes.

Some of the cars blocking traffic were empty, with drivers appearing to be playing cat-and mouse games with police.

Sights of the jams included a KMB bus stuck on Harcourt Road for almost four hours from 9am. But the captain told The Standard that the he felt "reassured after the company informed me they will soon make arrangements regarding this."

A two-car mishap on Connaught Road Central in front of Mandarin Oriental at about 11am included scenes familiar in many situations when one vehicle hit another from behind.

It did not appear serious, but the drivers were unable to settle on insurance details for over an hour. "I called the police, but they didn't offer any help and just asked us to settle the dispute between us," one driver said. "But we couldn't."

He added that an insurance company staffer "said they could only help us when we had a file number from the police."

Then about 20 minutes past noon two police officers carrying shields arrived to tell the drivers to move their cars to the roadside so other vehicles could move.

As it was, various roads from Central to Wan Chai were closed to traffic throughout the afternoon.

The day had not started well in any event as regards transport.

Demosisto activists staged a sit-in action inside Central MTR station for nearly 30 minutes from 8am.

Then several trains on the Island, Tsuen Wan and South Island lines went through Admiralty Station without stopping at around 9am, with the rail operator saying that was at police request.

The late afternoon at Admiralty Station also saw a problem, with exit A limited to incoming passengers around 4pm.

Earlier, Transport Department officials had urged people to use non-road public transport as far as possible.

"If driving is unavoidable, motorists are advised to plan their routes carefully, use alternate routes and allow more time to cope with unexpected delays," a notice read.

In any event, many bus routes were either suspended or diverted.

Tram services were also hit hard as many services run through Admiralty.

Amid the chaos, the Hospital Authority appealed to the public to help make movements easier for ambulances.

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