Taxi drivers gathered in the heart of the city to announce the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover with flags and slogans.
About 250 drivers took part in the Tuesday afternoon event organized by the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association, which saw their vehicles arranged in a ’25’ pattern to mark the number of years since the return of the former settlement British to China.
Wong Tai-hoi, the union’s general secretary, told reporters he was delighted to see the turnout, adding that “many taxi drivers were happy to come out and celebrate.”
“Under the national security law and with the ‘patriots’ now ruling Hong Kong, we hope Hong Kong will return to normal,” Wong said. “If Hong Kong is stable, then we taxi drivers can earn a living. This is the message we want to express today.
He added that the past few years had not been “ideal” for taxi drivers, who saw their business badly affected by protests in 2014 and 2019.
“As taxi drivers, the roads are our office,” Wong said.
The event took place on vacant land owned by real estate giant Henderson Land Development near the Central Harbourfront. Wong thanked Henderson for loaning the lot to the syndicate.
A taxi driver told HKFP that he had been there since 9 a.m. Mr. Tam said that even though he took time out of his workday to join, his participation was worth it.
“That does not bother me [sacrificing some income]. It’s the 25th anniversary this year,” the 53-year-old said.
He added that the government had “done its best” in response to major challenges Hong Kong has faced in recent years, including the 2019 protests and unrest and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Each taxi was decorated with a Chinese flag and red and gold posters reading “welcome to the presence of President Xi at the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the handover of power in Hong Kong and the inauguration of the government’s sixth term”.
Taxi union workers were seen sticking posters on taxis.
Police patrolled the area, with traffic cops parking their motorbikes outside.
HKFP contacted the union to ask if they had an aerial view of the vehicles laid out in the number 25 formation. Wong said no as they were unable to register for a permit to fly a drone above the lot.
Hong Kong is gearing up for its 25th transfer anniversary celebrations this Friday. Police said on Tuesday that authorities would close roads and overflights in areas where Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit.
Senior officials attending the celebrations checked into hotels in Wan Chai on Monday under “closed-loop” arrangements intended to minimize the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak.
The city reported 1,685 new Covid-19 infections and one death on Tuesday. Hong Kong has recorded 1,241,435 cases and 9,399 deaths since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago.
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