Airport managers sacked for protest activities

Top News | Staff Reporters 22 Aug 2019

Two Airport Authority managers have been sacked after allegedly joining anti-fugitive bill protests and posting social media comments supporting demonstrators.

It is understood the two veteran staff - both have worked at the authority for almost 20 years - were fired on the spot on Monday.

One was the assistant general manager of the department responsible for land-based customer transport and project planning. The other was a manager responsible for the operation of Terminal 1.

Some staff members said the two joined some anti-fugitive bill protests and showed their feelings in WhatsApp chat groups.

It is understood someone reported the two to management.

The authority was already under "restructuring" after protesters paralyzed airport operations on August 13.

An authority spokesman confirmed the two had been sacked but would not talk about a reason.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin, a member of the Legislative Council's panel on transport, said: "The situation is worrying. Staff in different levels have resigned or been fired, maybe due to self-censorship or pressure from senior management. If this white terror continues it will threaten the freedom of speech and stability of Hong Kong."

He said personal information of some flight attendants and other aviation staff have been revealed online, making them worry that action will be taken against them.

The aviation industry has been at the forefront of pressure by mainland authorities against fugitive protests.

On August 9, the Civil Aviation Administration of China ordered Cathay Pacific to ban all employees who supported or joined extradition bill protests from operating flights to the mainland or flying through Chinese airspace.

Since then Cathay Pacific has fired at least four employees related to protest action.

They include two ground staffers for leaking travel arrangements for a Hong Kong police football team, a pilot arrested and charged with rioting over clashes in Sheung Wan on July 28, and a second officer for posting a photograph of a cockpit display that was seen as a call for protesters to gather again at the airport.

Two other pilots left the company.

One of them, pan-democratic lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho, said he wants the political storm surrounding the airline to stop with his resignation.

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