Hong Kong continued to be under a virtual lock down on Saturday with train system – the main artery that keeps the city on the move – shut, many major shopping malls and department stores closed and several banks shuttered while the Jockey Club said it was cancelling its services.
MTR authorities, who for the first time in recent memory stopped all services, said in the afternoon that it was still assessing the situation and it is not possible to determine the time for resuming service at this stage. The rail link to the airport started partial service at 2.30pm, with trains running between Hong Kong and Central and airport.
Several banks said they have suspended services at most of their branches. HSBC, Hang Seng Bank and Standard Chartered Bank said most of their branches are closed for the day. The Bank of China said some of their facilities have been seriously damaged.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has advised customers to use online banking or ATM services instead. But some social media users said some of the4 ATMs were out of cash.
HKMA said it said incidents like arson attacks and vandalisms have seriously affected the use of banking services by the public, and hope social order will be soon restored, allowing banks to resume operations.
Many of the major malls in the city didn't open at all, including IFC and World Trade Centre in Central, World Trade Centre in Causeway Bay, APM mall in Kwun Tong, Sogo in Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay, Elements in Tsim Sha Tsui and New Town Plaza in Sha Tin.
Even in malls that opened, like Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong, many of the shops remained shut.
In an unprecedented move, ParknShop chain of supermarkets, linked to tycoon Li Ka-shing's business empire, said they won't be opening on Saturday. All Wellcome supermarkets and 7-11 shops will also close by 5pm.
Meanwhile Hong Kong Jockey Club has announced that all betting branches outside racecourses will be closed for business on Saturday, considering the latest situation and the safety of employees and customers.
The operator services of telephone betting and customer care hot lines will be suspended from 5pm, and the Mark Six draw originally scheduled for Saturday will be postponed to next Tuesday. All accepted bets remain valid.
HK paralysis continues with no trains, banks shut
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