As tensions in Hong Kong near the “boiling point,” the city is bracing for yet another weekend of protests and demonstrations by pro-democracy groups and individuals. And once again the Hong Kong airport and the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) are the expected targets.

The situation at the airport will be a bit disconcerting as protesters may try to blend in with actual travelers by exchanging their signature black T-shirts in favor of nondescript clothing and use forged boarding passes to gain entry to the airport. The latter action would be considered forgery that comes with a possible 14-year prison term if convicted.

Hong Kong Police and the Airport Authority have warned protesters of the possible legal outcomes but admit that it is not an easy task to ferret out demonstrators from normal passengers especially if they are carrying luggage and fake documents.

Lau Wing-kei, deputy police commander for the airport district, advised that having a valid passport and travel documents should allow passengers to pass through security checkpoints and that anyone lingering in the terminal area will be viewed with suspicion. At a daily press conference, Lau said, “So, anyone who stays outside the terminal building or on public transport without going into the airport will be suspected.”

He also warned that airport injunctions against protesters remained effective, and police would first issue a warning before taking any dispersal action. One online forum offered some practical advice of “Don’t dress in black, don’t chant any slogans. Just bear in mind you’re a normal citizen or traveler. You have nothing to fear from police if you have reasonable cause to be around the airport.”

Riot police block an entrance at Hong Kong International Airport on September 1 to stop protesters from entering the terminal building Riot police block an entrance at Hong Kong International Airport on September 1 to stop protesters from entering the terminal building Photo: AFP / Lillian SUWANRUMPHA

In anticipation of the trouble, MTR announced that trains would bypass Kowloon and Tsing Yi stations and skip AsiaWorld-Expo, one of two major convention and exhibition facilities in Hong Kong beginning at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.

Highways and roads are other areas where Hong Kong authorities are planning for some disruptions. Li Kam-piu, the acting senior superintendent of traffic in New Territories South, pointed out that there could be serious consequences for drivers aiding the protesters by impeding traffic in any manner. This includes driving too slowly and parking in traffic lanes. “We have prepared sufficient tow trucks," Li said. “Once we find cars parked intentionally on the motorway or blocking roads and affecting road safety, police will deal with them.”

Adding to the worries of the police is a Sunday afternoon gathering of about 5,000 people in a planned demonstration in a public park named Chater Garden, followed by an approximate 20-minute march to the United States consulate. The purpose of the rally / march is to support the passage of Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. The Consulate, normally closed on Sunday, is aware of the march and said it will be handled using “standard procedures.”