Businesses make a bolt for it

Top News | Amy Nip, Kevin Xu and Daphne Li 13 Jun 2019

Admiralty turned into a dead zone as most businesses stopped operating while the conflict escalated.

With tear gas being fired on Harcourt Road, all shops at Pacific Place, just one street away, were closed. Workers rushed home as protesters gathered in front of shop windows.

Banks, shops, restaurants and even Jockey Club branches in surrounding areas shuttered down. Admiralty and Central - the heart of the city - was closed down.

Civil servants working in Central Government Offices were asked not to go to work, with all roads leading there blocked off from early morning. Entrances to CGO were closed until further notice.

Some employees working in Admiralty, including those from four major accounting firms, were allowed to work from home. Securities and Futures Commission suggested its personnel could leave the headquarters at Cheung Kong Centre at any time on advice from department heads.

ICBC (Asia), Hang Seng Bank, Standard Chartered, HSBC, Bank of East Asia, CITIC Bank International and Dah Sing Bank suspended work at their branches in United Centre or Pacific Palace in Admiralty.

BOC Hong Kong said staff in affected areas had safely left.

Business meetings and events were also affected.

The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing canceled a wine party originally scheduled for yesterday to mark its 19th anniversary.

Sun Hung Kai Properties said the press conference of Mount Regency II scheduled for yesterday would be held at a later date. Wheelock will reschedule the news briefing on its new project Grand Montara in Tseung Kwan O.

An office worker in Admiralty, caught up in the chaos when she went off work, said: "Admiralty Station was at war, so I walked towards Central MTR. Originally it was peaceful. But then I saw people running all over. Then tear gas followed. Crowds were running towards me and I started to run as well. It's really crazy."

The Labour Department urged employers to give due consideration and be flexible if employees could not arrive at work on time because of commuting problems.

The Colloquium of Six Religious Leaders of Hong Kong - comprising Catholic, Buddhist, Confucian, Protestant and Taoist leaders - issued a joint statement calling on the government and people to seek a solution by peaceful means.

They also asked the government to respect people's right of assembly and to communicate genuinely with the public.

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