Cathay grounds pilot, removes 2 staff after regulator’s warning

Protesters in Hong Kong have insisted they will continue their movement which is now in its third month

They have dominated a peaceful sit-in at the city's worldwide airport which entered its third day on Sunday, with about a thousand demonstrators singing songs and handing out flyers to arriving travellers amid a carnival atmosphere. She said she was anxious about escalating violence, but added that "the protesters were just trying to protect themselves against police violence".

Though the carrier doesn't disclose a breakdown of its mainland China business, flights originating from there and Hong Kong account for about half the firm's revenue. At one railway station, riot police fired tear gas into the enclosed space and were caught on film using batons to beat protesters as they tried to flee down an escalator to another station.

After years of growing Chinese intervention in the city, many protesters feel that this is their last chance to defend the city's autonomy.

"The information I got before we came in was that in the airport passenger terminal building there are over 5,000 protesters", said Kong Wing-cheung, senior superintendent of the police public relations branch, at a press conference.

The Hong Kong administration branded the protests as "unlawful assemblies" and said a petrol bomb had injured a policeman.

Several thousand people gathered on Monday for a fourth day of protest against a proposed extradition law at Hong Kong's busy worldwide airport.

At the airport, protesters held signs reading "Hong Kong is not safe" and "Shame on police".

Increasingly violent protests have plunged Hong Kong into its most serious crisis in decades and presented a serious challenge to Beijing.

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Hong Kong police and protesters clashed in cat-and-mouse encounters across the city on Sunday, marking a shift in tactics during a tenth straight weekend of unrest in the former British colony where people are chafing at Chinese rule. Others hurled taunts and rocks, and shone laser pointers at officers' faces until squads of riot police pushed forward, dousing the crowd with tear gas. "A general election is still impossible for us, and Hong Kong is still ruled by a puppet from Beijing", she said.

It would also have a major impact on Beijing's ambitions to reunify the mainland with the democratically-governed island of Taiwan.

Meanwhile, the city's flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways on August 10 said it suspended one pilot for "rioting", and dismissed two ground staff for leaking travel information for a Hong Kong police soccer team who were due to fly to China.

The firm is facing a boycott call in China, and its shares dropped more than four per cent in Hong Kong trade on Monday. "We'll continue to fight.but we're also going to be smart and wear them down".

The protesters, meanwhile, have flooded the city's airport, causing all flights from Hong Kong to be cancelled.

The airline also confirmed that two staff members had been sacked for misconducts.

Cathay said on Friday - before the CAAC's directive - that while it supports the "one country, two systems" principle governing Hong Kong, it doesn't condone activities that may jeopardise the city's stability or impact aviation safety.

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