Editor’s Note: Following recent public unrest in Hong Kong that led to travel disruption and public safety concerns, Harbour Times has selected SafePro, Asia’s premier travel security consultancy, to provide our readers weekly travel security advice with a focus what Hong Kong based diplomats, business and non-government organisation executives, as well as leisure travellers, need to know about upcoming travel risk.
Week in Review – Terrorism and Weather Events
In the week past, travel risk was elevated due to security, weather and public health developments across Asia.
On 9 July Malaysia detained four foreigners with links to various regional militant causes, which shows Malaysia remains a transit point for militant activity. The next day, the Philippines government admitted a June suicide bombing which killed five was committed by a Filipino, the first time a Filipino was accused of committing a domestic suicide bombing.
Monsoon rains in Mumbai impacted business travellers, and in Japan’s Kyushu region heavy rains caused landslides and floods. In China, the highest average rainfall in half a century fell over parts of southern and eastern China, causing floods that forced the evacuation of nearly 80,000 people and delayed trains along the Beijing-Guangzhou railway. In Malaysia’s Johor State that neighbours Singapore, a sudden and mysterious bad air problem caused sickness to students. Dengue fever outbreaks continued in Laos and Taiwan among other locations.
Stay Safe the Week of 15-July
Terrorism risk is a concern in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia especially following the recent arrests in Malaysia and revelations about suicide bombers in the Philippines. National capitals, urban areas, casinos and night clubs, hotels popular with tourists, and government buildings are all at-risk targets.
Business travellers to Mumbai should monitor monsoon related closures of roads and the Mumbai Airport. Leisure travellers to Kyushu’s Kagoshima region might want to reschedule their visit due to the landslides and floods. In China, expect more heavy rain over the next few days in the provinces of Hunan, Zhejiang, Hubei, Anhui, Guizhou, and Jiangxi.
Travelers to Singapore (including areas near to Johor), and those crossing the causeway into Johor, should check for the latest developments in the bad air situation, and if you’re going to be near the impact area, wear suitable face masks such as the R95. Due to dengue fever outbreaks, we advise travellers to take adequate measures against mosquito bites, especially in Taiwan where authorities mistakenly issued a nationwide dengue alert that was only intended for residents of a single neighbourhood, and had to own up to the mistake rather than blame the usual bogeymen of foreign interference or fake news.
Hong Kong’s Security Bureau Outbound Travel Alert
No changes in the past week to the Hong Kong Security Bureau’s Outbound Travel Alert though that’s understandable as the officers had events in Hong Kong to keep them busy. In late June, the Security Bureau revised its Myanmar travel warning to note an attack on a navy vessel in Rakhine state; we rarely receive inquiries from Hong Kong travellers about Rakhine inland waterway safety but those considering a visit should seek additional advice beyond the Security Bureau’s alert.
Does this column make you feel unsafe? Worried about traveling in Asia? Send your questions about travel security to [email protected]