Traffic resumes in vandalized Hong Kong tunnel two weeks after closure: Reports

Traffic resumes in vandalized Hong Kong tunnel two weeks after closure: Reports

Agency News

Beijing, Nov 27 : The Cross-Harbor Tunnel, one of Hong Kong’s most important thoroughfares, was reopened for traffic on Wednesday morning after a two-week shutdown due to protests, media reported.

The tunnel connecting Hong Kong Island and Kowloon was closed on November 13, when confrontations between protesters and riot police flared up in the nearby Polytechnic University, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper.

Protesters hurled petrol bombs and set fire to checkpoints before being holed up in the nearby university campus, which led to a dramatic week-long siege.

Traffic resumed at 0500 hrs local time (21:00 GMT) through the tunnel, which, on average, transports about 40 percent of Hong Kong’s traffic daily, Xinhua said in a report.

It took 800 workers about 100 hours of repair work to restore the tunnel infrastructure, the South China Morning Post cited Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung as saying.

Protesters have left the Polytechnic University campus, either by arrest or escape, but the campus remains on lockdown by police. It will also require extensive restoration before classes resume, according to the newspaper.

Hong Kong has faced a wave of protests since June. The unrest was initially triggered by a controversial extradition bill that was officially withdrawn in October, but demonstrators are now going after local authorities for their heavy-handed response to the protests. In total, over 1,500 protesters have been hospitalized after sustaining wounds in the clashes, and over 400 police officers have been injured.

Beijing has repeatedly stated that the situation in Hong Kong is a result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs and expressed full support for the local authorities. (UNI)