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Cathay Pacific fires head of the cabin crew union after support for Hong Kong democracy protests

Union head at Hong Kong airline Cathay Dragon claimed she has been fired in retaliation for supporting the pro-democracy movement. 

The incident has added to the chill in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory and the spreading ‘white terror’ in the region. 

Cabin crew union chief Rebecca Sy told a news conference that the Hong Kong airline had dismissed her on Friday without giving a reason, but that the firing came after she was pulled from a flight and asked by an airline representative to confirm that screenshots from Facebook were from her account.

‘It’s not just about the termination of the job, it’s also the whole issue, it’s terrifying. All my colleagues are all terrified,’ she said. 

‘I feel so sorry for them because I’m no longer in that position to protect them.’

Cabin crew union chief Rebecca Sy (pictured) told a news conference that the Hong Kong airline had dismissed her on Friday without giving a reason, but that the firing came after she was pulled from a flight and asked by an airline representative to confirm that screenshots from Facebook were from her account

Riot police gather on a street in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24. Pilots and cabin crew at Hong Kong's flagship carrier have used the term 'white terror' to describe what they see as recent pressure on companies to sack those supporting the pro-democracy movement

Riot police gather on a street in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24. Pilots and cabin crew at Hong Kong’s flagship carrier have used the term ‘white terror’ to describe what they see as recent pressure on companies to sack those supporting the pro-democracy movement

Police argue with demonstrators through a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Police argue with demonstrators through a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24 

Cathay Dragon is owned by Hong Kong’s main carrier, Cathay Pacific, which has come under pressure from Chinese authorities for employing people who support the protests. 

The company said in a statement that Sy’s departure has nothing to do with her union activities.

‘Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, when deciding whether to terminate an employee, we take into account all relevant circumstances including applicable regulatory requirements and the employee’s ability to perform his/her job,’ the company said. 

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions called her firing a ‘blatant suppression and retaliation on her participation in the anti-extradition bill movement and her actions to mobilize her colleagues to participate as a trade union leader.’

Sy’s departure follows last week’s shock resignation of Chief Executive Rupert Hogg, the highest-profile corporate casualty of the unrest.  

Pilots and cabin crew at Hong Kong’s flagship carrier have used the term ‘white terror’ to describe what they see as recent pressure on companies to sack those supporting the movement.  

The term is used to describe a climate of fear as people become afraid to voice their political opinions. 

A protester arugues with policemen in Hong Kong's Kowloon Bay on August 24. Cathay Dragon is owned by Hong Kong's main carrier, Cathay Pacific, which has come under pressure from Chinese authorities for employing people who support the protests

A protester arugues with policemen in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay on August 24. Cathay Dragon is owned by Hong Kong’s main carrier, Cathay Pacific, which has come under pressure from Chinese authorities for employing people who support the protests

Protesters march from Kwun Tong to Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city

Protesters march from Kwun Tong to Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city

Protesters march from Kwun Tong to Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city

Protesters march from Kwun Tong to Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city

It comes as an employee at the British Consulate in Hong Kong who was detained in mainland China has been released. 

A spokeswoman at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed the release in a statement to the PA news agency on Saturday.

She said: ‘We welcome the release of Simon Cheng and are delighted that he can be reunited with his family.

‘We will continue to provide support to them.

‘Simon and his family have requested privacy and we would be grateful if this is respected.’

Public security authorities in Shenzhen said Mr Cheng was released as scheduled after 15 days of administrative detention.

The Luohu public security bureau in Shenzhen, the mainland city neighbouring Hong Kong, made the announcement on its Weibo microblog account.

Mr Cheng was detained for violating mainland Chinese law and ‘confessed to his illegal acts’, the statement said, without providing further details.

‘Simon is released. Simon is safe,’ Max Chung, a supporter of Mr Cheng told the Associated Press.

‘We’ve just managed to talk to him over the phone,’ he said, adding that Mr Cheng would answer any further questions, but did not say when.

Demonstrators kick a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Demonstrators kick a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24 

Police watch demonstratorsthrough a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR police station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Police watch demonstratorsthrough a closed entrance gate at the Kwun Tong MTR police station in Hong Kong on Saturday, August 24

Protesters build barriers as they block a road in Hong Kong's Kowloon Bay on August 24, 2019

Protesters build barriers as they block a road in Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay on August 24, 2019 

China said earlier this week that Cheng had been placed in administrative detention for 15 days for violating public order regulations. The Global Times, a Communist Party-owned tabloid newspaper, reported that Chen had been detained for soliciting prostitutes.

China often uses public order charges against political targets and has sometimes used the charge of soliciting prostitution. 

Ou Shaokun, an anti-corruption activist, alleged in 2015 that he was framed by authorities in southern Hunan province who said they found him in a hotel room with a prostitute.

The Canadian government updated its travel advice for China to warn of stepped-up border checks on smartphones, following reports that Chinese immigration officers were looking for protest-related photos. 

Supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement lined the streets and part of the city’s harbor front on Friday, inspired by a human chain in a historic Baltic states protest against Soviet control 30 years ago.

Some raised linked hands while others switched on their smartphone lights and held the devices aloft to create a row of white lights against the nighttime skyline. Organizers hoped the chains, which traced three subway routes, would total 40 kilometers (25 miles) in length.

It was the latest protest in a nearly 11-week-old movement that began with calls to scrap a now-suspended extradition bill and has widened to include demands for full democracy and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality at protests.

Supporters of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement lined the streets and part of the city's harbor front on Friday, inspired by a human chain in a historic Baltic states protest against Soviet control 30 years ago

 Supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement lined the streets and part of the city’s harbor front on Friday, inspired by a human chain in a historic Baltic states protest against Soviet control 30 years ago

Demonstrators link hands at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong with the city's iconic skyline as a backdrop on Friday, August 23

Demonstrators link hands at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong with the city’s iconic skyline as a backdrop on Friday, August 23

Pro-democracy protesters have continued rallies in Hong Kong against a now-suspended extradition bill since June 6

Pro-democracy protesters have continued rallies in Hong Kong against a now-suspended extradition bill since June 6

‘It actually enraged me, the way that the government, the (city’s) chief executive and then the police, how they carry out their jobs,’ said Michael Ng, who works in finance and joined the chain outside an upscale mall. ‘Very brutal, I would say. We are talking about human rights here.’

Police say their use of tear gas, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds has been necessary to clear streets of protesters who have pelted them with eggs, bricks and gasoline bombs.

In a protest dubbed ‘The Baltic Way,’ nearly 2 million Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians formed a human chain more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) long on Aug. 23, 1989.

Organizers of ‘The Hong Kong Way’ said it was a show of solidarity against the extradition law and police violence, as well as a plea for international support.

Earlier Friday, accountants marched in support of the pro-democracy movement, while the Canadian Consulate banned its staff from leaving the city on official business after British Consulate employee Cheng was detained in mainland China.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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