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CONNECT THE WORLD
Tensions High as Hong Kong Airport Again Cancels Outbound Flights; Epstein Case Raises Questions in Britain; U.S. Warns Epstein's Possible Co- Conspirators, Don't Rest Easy. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 13, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: At this hour accused of recruiting for Epstein. In newly unsealed documents, we are finding more about women
who allegedly procured young victims for the wealthy sex offender and she moves in very high society here in the U.K., all the details in just a
Then, Putin's private army.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Wagner is Putin's instrument for resolving issues by force when action has to be taken immediately, urgently
and in the most concealed way possible. I cannot say it's an army in the proper sense of that word. It's just a fighting unit that will do anything
that Putin says.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Seen reporting only right here on CNN, we uncover a secret private army that does whatever the Russian President tells it to do. We'll
show you where it is on the ground in our exclusive reporting. And --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE (voice-over): Hong Kong society is not safe or stable. The rioters have pushed Hong Kong to the brink of no
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: On the precipice we get you inside Hong Kong's busy airport where swarming protests have all but shut it down for a second straight day and
Beijing is not amused.
Hello and welcome, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me Becky Anderson live from London.
And we start in Hong Kong where one of the world's busiest airports has, as I said, been thrown into chaos for the second straight day. I want to get
you live pictures of what is going on as we speak at the airport. The city's international airport, once again, cancelled dozens of flights. As
you can see here on your screens, protesters in what are massive disruptions by anti-government protesters.
This now the second day at this Hong Kong airport -- Hong Kong International Airport. One of the busiest in the world, once again,
massively impacted by protesters. Paula Hancocks is standing by at the airport for you. Paula, explain what you're seeing and what you're hearing.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we've had some remarkable scenes over the past ten minutes or so. The police turned
out. There were maybe half a dozen police found outside. They came into the airport. They were unarmed. They just had shields around them to protect
them from any projectiles presumably. And they came inside the airport to the absolute fury of many of the protesters. Thousands of protesters
started booing, started jeering, started yelling.
But the reason it appears that these police have come into the airport at this point many hours after these protesters have been very vocal is that
there is one individual, a man who protesters said was an undercover policeman and they had been holding him and not allowing him to leave.
Effectively being held by protesters. They had been asking him questions. He had been in the mix of the other mob really of dozens of protesters and
the paramedics were unable to get him out. So what they have done is they have come in. They appear to have created a distraction on this side. And
then on the other side, paramedics went in, got him out and they managed to take him away. As soon as that happened, police left the airport.
So this didn't appear as though it was an operation to clear the airport. It appears as though they were trying to help that one individual. Now, of
course, we have no way of knowing if, in fact, he was an undercover police officer. But certainly there has been a remarkable reaction from these
protesters as the police were retreated backwards whilst they were talking to the protesters, there were massive cheers and applause that they were
leaving. And as far as we can tell, it appears as though they have theft airport now to the protesters -- Becky.
ANDERSON: All right, Paula, if you can just stand away from the camera just for a moment so our viewers can get more of a sense of what's going on
behind you. I don't know what your cameraman can do to sort of help us out there. Yes, you can see massively busy. You can see protesters there in
masks and in helmets. Paula, who is organizing what is going on? If anybody? In the airport at this point?
[11:05:00] HANCOCKS: Becky, this isn't the kind of protests that you have particular leaders who are dictating exactly what should happen and where
they want to go. This is a fairly organic movement. We know on certain social media sites that they are deciding where they should protest and
what they should do. It's almost like a group decision in many ways as to what they want to do.
Now of course, this is the mass protests I am talking about. The predominantly peace protesters. There are different elements of these
protest. But the reason there are so many people here today and there were yesterday as well -- shutting down the airport effectively -- is because of
what happened on Sunday. Protesters here believe that police used excess violence. They believe that police were too brutal in their reaction in
trying to stop these protests. So there is real anger and frustration from these protesters. Many of them very young that they believe the Hong Kong
police have treated them badly. So this is really why we are seeing so many people here.
And it's interesting, Becky, because you do see some people leaving now after the police have left. But there's no sense that this is calming down
too much. The momentum of these protesters still very much there -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Paula Hancocks for you there at the airport in Hong Kong.
Beijing's intervention inevitable if Hong Kong can't restore order. A state media editor has said as protesters continue as you saw there to block Hong
Kong International Airport. The editor of Chinese state media tabloid "Global Times" has again warned of a possible military crackdown.
More on that as we get it from Hong Kong as we continue to monitor these pictures from inside the international airport there where it is just after
11:00 p.m. at night. We will continue as I say to monitor those images for you as we get more. Of course, will get it first here on CNN.
U.S. officials are warning for anyone who may have assisted or conspired with child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Don't rest easy, just because he's
dead. Epstein's apparent suicide in jail has led to heightened scrutiny of his possible accomplices. And one name in particular is standing out.
Elaine Maxwell has been accused by multiple alleged victims of procuring girls for Epstein and even taking part in the abuse herself.
Now, these allegations have been around for years and years. The question no one can seem to answer is why she's never been charged. Well Epstein's
death, of course, and the circumstances surrounding and fueling countless unfounded conspiracy theories online that have been spreading like
This hour, we're bringing you a brand-new way to connect to our show in the world's most important stories. We want you to take part in this show by
using what is on your screen as present. It's called megaphone. Today we have asking should social media companies be blocking conspiracy content
like that which we are seeing? We will discuss now with regard Epstein's death.
Load up, CNN.com, you can do it on your tablet, on your phone or on your desktop and give us your thoughts. Let's turn to that and get the very
latest now on the investigation.
CNN senior political analyst John Avlon joining us from New York a day after calling the U.S. President, quote, our conspiracy theorists in chief
and Max Foster here with me in London. Let's start with you, John. And the facts, as far as we understand them, of the circumstances surrounding
Epstein's death, if you will.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the Epstein's death in a federal prison in Manhattan should never have happened. There are measures
usually taken. He had been on suicide watch as recently as a week and change ago. He was alone in his cell at the time. It appears one of the
guards in the facility was not actually a full-time correction official and details are still coming out.
There are two investigations that have already been launched into this. One by the bureau of prisons and the within the Justice Department by an
independent investigator. But this is something that never should have happened and came days after a whole tranche of new documents had been
released accusing some very powerful people of working with Epstein to abuse young women. And so, all the conspiracy theories are out in full
force. Usually I found that incompetence is a better explanation than conspiracy. But certainly the President of the United States with his
tweets hasn't help the situation. In fact he's predictably made it worse.
ANDERSON: All right, conspiracy theorist in chief is what you have called him.
[11:10:00] Can you just describe some of these conspiracies out there. John, we've got megaphone up today. We're asking our viewers whether social
media should block this sort of content. Let's just discuss in practice what's out there and then why you are calling the U.S. President, himself a
conspiracy theorist in chief?
AVLON: Sure. Well, obviously, we're living in disinformation wars. Where social media has been found the most efficient way unfortunately possible
to spread disinformation. That's been weaponized by individual actors and nation states, notably Russia. What the President of the United States has
done, Donald Trump has a history of trafficking in conspiracy theories from the racist birther conspiracy he deployed politically against Barack Obama.
To suggesting, for example, that one his primary rivals in 2016, Ted Cruz's father was somehow involved in the JFK assassination.
What he did this weekend in the wake of the Epstein suicide was retweet somebody who suggested that his political opponents and one of his
Presidential predecessors, the Clintons were somehow involved in the death of Jeffrey Epstein. This less we need to be reminded is not remotely
normal. There was no President of the United States who's even echoed or amplified an idea publicly that one of his predecessors has murdered
And yet because of the constant stream of outrageous statements and lies from the President, now tracking over 12,000 during the course of his
presidency -- according to Washington Post -- there is a degree of numbness. But we shouldn't be numb to it. Not only because of the record of
what he said but because this very specific allegation and a suicide that didn't occur under the watch of two retirees in Chappaqua, New York, where
the Clinton's live but in his own federal prison system which ultimately reports to the White House. I'm not sure we should show that --
ANDERSON: Yes, no sure. John's in New York. Max is with me here. Because we want to take a look at the kind of wider story in the life of Jeffrey
Epstein and his alleged co-conspirators. In newly unsealed documents, we at CNN are finding out more about a woman who allegedly procured young victims
on his behalf. What do you know?
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well now that he's gone, Epstein's investigation has focused to those around him. No one that appears is
closer to him -- or was closer to him as Ghislaine Maxwell. Now the problem is we don't know where she is.
FOSTER (voice-over): Business as usual it seems for Prince Andrew, pictured on Sunday riding alongside the Queen on their way to church. A bold show of
support perhaps as new details place a spotlight on allegations of sexual misconduct laid against the British Royal. Hundreds of pages of previously
sealed court filings were released on Friday, bringing to life fresh allegations which have linked the Duke of York to his former friend and
convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. Who was found dead in his prison cell on Saturday. At the heart of the documents connected to a 2015
defamation case are allegations by Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Who --
ANDERSON: All right, we're going to apologize. That, in fact, is an earlier report earlier this week -- Max.
FOSTER: Well linked, essentially, where some of the key photos, and in many of the photos we see associate with Epstein's case with Prince Andrew, with
this young lady the 17-year-old at the time in the background. You see Maxwell in the background. She keeps cropping up. So people have become
quite familiar with her. In all these stills, people want to find out more about her.
And then we had all these documents that came out and there's many references. These were documents in these unsealed documents that have been
released last week, references to her saying one of the main women, primary co-conspirator acting as a madam for Epstein. Some of them suggesting that
she was basically procuring young women for him to have sex with and his friend as well.
She hasn't made any public statements since he was even charged in July but has previously denied all of these allegations. But what's interesting is
that the current investigators say the case is very much alive. They are looking at these conspiracy charges. So that inevitably takes us to her.
But no one knows where she is.
ANDERSON: Max, on that part of the story for you. Max, thank you and apologies once again for the error in the report we just broadcast.
This hour in a world where it is increasingly hard to know what's true and what's not, we've been asking you, should social media companies be
blocking unfounded conspiracy theories? Right now, well, it looking as if the majority of you were taking part today, are saying, no, they shouldn't.
54 percent on that side of the fence at present. Do have your say by connecting with us using this link, CNN.com/join.
[11:15:00] You can do that right there on your smartphone and tablets and on your laptops. And we'll keep up with that as we move through this show.
It's 14 minutes past 4:00 here in London. Still to come, inside Putin's private army.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that part of the mission of Wagner is to help Russia restore its role to become
a major global superpower again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes, 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: CNN's exclusive report up next.
BOLDUAN: Paula, help our viewers understand. The riot police coming into the Hong Kong International Airport, this has not happened. This is a
major escalation if they come back in, correct?
HANCOCKS: This is one of the world's busiest airports. This is a massive transport hub. This is not somewhere that you expect riot police to be
I've spoken to a number of protesters and they have said that they didn't believe this would happen. They have said that they thought that they were
onto a good thing. They thought the fact that they were protesting in the airport meant that they were going to be safe from tear gas and pepper
spray and the riot police.
Now, as we're pointing out, they didn't come far into the Hong Kong airport. Is that a show of force? Is that a sign that the riot police
want to give to the protesters, that they are there? It's just unclear at this point.
BOLDUAN: So at this point, does it seem now that the riot police are blocking any of the protesters from leaving, almost blocking any protester
from even leaving? Is that what's happening?
HANCOCKS: I don't believe they're blocking people from getting out of the airport. At this point, it appears as though the protesters are blocking
them from getting into the airport.
And something quite surreal actually. I'm just looking down onto the ground floor, just looking over the banister, and everything is completely
calm. Everyone is wandering around. Passengers are wandering around looking at boards. So it's very localized to this particular area.
This is the arrival hall -- sorry, the departures hall and this is the area where protesters have been focusing the last few hours.
And we are seeing a fair amount of activity outside. This appears to be more riot police now coming in to get into position. We simply don't know
what they are going to be doing.
BOLDUAN: Just remind viewers, just for our viewers, remind them that there are passengers, as you mentioned, still in the airport. This has been an
airport that's been largely almost paralyzed for two days as the protests have caused airlines to cancel will flights. But as you said, there are
passengers in the airport trying to get on their flights.
HANCOCKS: That's right. And they have been walking around looking rather confused. Some of them are angry that they have, in some cases, been --
not been able to leave the country for two days now. They have come both days. I've met people, and they're still not able to get on a flight.
But the fact is passengers are still coming. They did hear from the Hong Kong authorities saying that passengers should not come to the airport.
But, obviously, some are not listening to that because, last night, just after midnight, some flights did take off. So there's a hope by passengers
here that they would be able to get on a flight.
And up until just a couple of minutes ago, in fact, right now, you can still see people arriving at this airport down in the arrival hall. It's a
bit tricky to show. People are still arriving. This is, as you can see, a normal functioning airport.
BOLDUAN: This is such an amazing juxtaposition of what is happening at this airport with people walking around with their luggage. You can't see
it, Paula, because you're in the middle of it, but we have another shot. It looks like from basically behind the riot police looking into where you
are. And you can see shields up, helmets on, clearly with pepper spray canisters in their hands.
[11:20:03] It almost looks like -- I don't know if it was an airport official kind of standing outside, almost looking like trying to hold back
the riot police.
It's really an amazing split screen that we are looking at right now, what is happening where you are and the riot police on the outside, and then
passengers kind of milling about the airport in the level below you. It's truly remarkable.
HANCOCKS: I have to say, Kate, this is one of the most surreal images I have seen. You look one way and you see the riot police holding onto
pepper spray, and you look the other way down below and there are families arriving in Hong Kong, coming home, coming from a holiday. It is simply
This is, to all extents and purposes, down below on the ground floor, a functioning airport. This is an arrivals hall, but up here, one floor up,
in the departures hall, it is chaos. It is very chaotic. No one quite knows what's going to happen.
They have seen the riot police and it has certainly spooked many people. But they don't know whether or not they're going to come into the airport.
It is a very unusual situation, to say the least.
This is an international airport. This is one of the busiest transit hubs in the world. Last year, in fact, Kate, this was the eighth busiest
airport in the world.
And to have riot police with pepper spray and whatever else they have just outside with thousands of protesters inside, just downstairs, you have
arrivals as normal, it's very unusual.
BOLDUAN: Paula, for our viewers, this is like taking two steps back to get to where we are right now. And let us know what you're seeing.
But why all the protesters have now massed in the airport. These are protests that have been going on relentlessly for quite some time on the
streets and now to the airport where we have seen thousands of people show up. What does this all come down to? Why are they there? What is the
pressure point at the moment?
HANCOCKS: The original pressure point, the original anger of these protesters was an extradition bill, a bill that was attempted to be put
through the Hong Kong parliament that would allow Hong Kongers to be extradited to China to stand trial. That was unacceptable to Hong Kongers.
They say it is one country and two systems and they're trying to protect their democracy, these protesters say.
Now, the airport protest has been going for five days but it's really only the last two days that it has been so big that have been so many thousands
of people and effectively shutting down the airport.
That, we're told by everyone we're speaking to, were speaking about what happened on Sunday. There was a protest on Sunday and there's a widespread
perception that police overreacted in that protest. This is according to the protesters. They believe that there was too much force used. There
was excessive force used.
Now, the police deny that. They say they did what they had to do in order to keep the peace. And they've been giving a press conference. And the
chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, she supported the police and said Hong Kong is on the brink of no return.
So this protest right now, yes, it is based on the extradition bill, but this protest is anger at the police, and it has been since Sunday. In
fact, it has been for longer than that, but really Sunday appeared to be somewhat of a turning point.
BOLDUAN: Let me know what you see where you are, Paula.
I'm looking at the split screen of you in the terminal with folks behind you. On the other side of the screen, I'm looking at, I believe, it's
outside of the airport, riot police and photographers. And it looks, comparatively, from what I can see in the two shots, it looks like there
are very few riot police compared to the masses of people inside there.
What have the clashes been like with the riot police to this point? It seems what we were just witnessing with you live was a major inflection
HANCOCKS: Absolutely. It's just pointed out to me there's a number of police vans that have just pulled up or are pulling away. Appear to have
just pulled up.
Bizarrely, just behind them you're seeing double-decker buses that are taking passengers to wherever they're going to. Again, a very surreal
image of this protest here.
But from this vantage point, at this point, we can't see the riot police. (AUDIO PROBLEM) Thousands of protesters here as well.
I'll tell you what, this has thinned out significantly. If we just pan around and show how it has thinned out. Obviously, there's more of a mass
of people over in that direction, but this was crammed. It was jam-packed just a matter of 10 minutes ago.
[11:25:03] So whether this is people dispersing, whether this is people trying to get out of the airport and go home, we simply don't know. But
this is a very different dynamic to what it was just 20, 30 minutes ago.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And give me the context of yesterday. The airport was largely paralyzed yesterday because of -- it looked like, at one point,
mostly a sit-in of protesters. Did folks go home and come back or have they remained there throughout?
HANCOCKS: The vast majority did go home, Kate. We understand there was about 30 that stayed. CNN spoke to them and they said the reason they
stayed overnight is they wanted to show people that the airport was safe, that it was possible to stay here, and they wanted to make sure they were
here ready for today's protest as well.
The protesters I've spoken so say they believe this was a successful protest. They didn't believe that the riot police would actually make any
attempt to try and come in here. They thought it was a protected area and the fact that there were passengers around gave them protection from
repercussions from the police.
To a certain extent, is that true?
You can see just over here there's a barricade being moved into place. It looks like they're actually moving barricades to keep these riot police
out. This is something that they have done time and time again over the last 10 weeks.
Not just here in the airport. On the streets, they have used any barricades they can find. They have barricaded themselves in to make it
more difficult for the police to get close to them.
Now, for the most part, many of these protesters, I have to point out, are peaceful. There are some who are engaging in civil disobedience. There
are some who have been throwing things at the police.
HANCOCKS: I'm not sure who this particular individual is. It appears as though he's being hounded out of the airport.
Protesters are saying they believe undercover policemen are working among the protesters, pretending to be protesters, and then documenting what
they're doing and trying to take people and arrest them. Potentially, that was that situation. We simply don't know.
BOLDUAN: Paula --
HANCOCKS: You have these young kids trying to show you propaganda photos, trying to show you their images, despite everything else that's happening.
They want this message to go around the world. They want the police brutality to be known around the world.
BOLDUAN: Paula Hancocks, Paula, please stay there.
We're going to take a quick break. We're going to get back to this. Protesters facing off with riot police at one of the busiest airports in
the world, Hong Kong International Airport. And we saw it playing out live as the riot police came into the airport, momentarily, really creating
chaos as protesters were running back into the airport, right past Paula.
We're going to take a quick break. We'll get back to this, make some more sense of the chaos that we're seeing play out in Hong Kong right after
[11:33:12] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.
We're following breaking news we've been watching play out.
I want to get back to Hong Kong International Airport where, just the last few minutes, we have seen real chaos breaking out among protesters and riot
police, entering the airport, blocking protesters, a real confrontation that we are seeing play out.
Paula Hancocks is there for us inside Hong Kong International Airport.
Paula, what's it looking like in there now? What are you seeing?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, just in the past few minutes, since we've been in a break, it has appeared to calm down
significantly. Whether this is the calm before the storm we simply don't know.
What we know is that many of these protesters are now trying to use barricades, to use the trollies for the luggage to block different
entrances of the airport. Whether that will keep the riot police out is very doubtful. They're tried that in the past when it's happened on the
But they are just trying to bed down. We have seen, it appears, a number of people who have dispersed. There's definitely less people here than
there were. Whether they've been spreading out a little bit, I don't know. It's unclear at this point.
But we can't see the riot police from where we are. We can see that the riot and the police vans have moved along. They're not outside the area
where we are right now. Whether they're going to come in different entrance or whether they'll come in a different entrance, we simply don't
When they first emerged and appeared at the entrance of the Hong Kong International Airport, it was chaos in here. There was panic among the
Many of them telling me they didn't believe that would happen. They believed this was a protest that they could continue because they didn't
believe the riot police would actually want to come into one of the busiest airports in the world.
[11:35:07] Bearing in mind, there are still passengers here who were trying to get on flights that have been canceled because of these protests.
There are a number of passengers milling around with their luggage, come looking confused, some annoyed that they can't get on flights.
I think after the riot police appearance, I think some will be quite concerned as well -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Paula, stand by with me.
Right now, joining me now on the phone as we're looking at this -- just for our viewers, a quick update, you see Paula on the right side of your
screen. That's where we are right now. On the left side of your screen, that was moments ago when that was the chaos that was breaking out.
And we saw, obviously, some protesters get their eyes washed out, clearly indicating some kind of pepper spray was possibly used on the part of the
riot police, which we saw riot police had in hand when we got a different perspective from outside of the airport from another camera.
Joining me now on the phone is Mike Chinoy, the CNN bureau chief based in Beijing, also a senior correspondent based in Hong Kong.
Mike, can you hear me?
MIKE CHINOY, CNN HONG KONG BUREAU CHIEF (via telephone): Yes. I can. Hi, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Hi. Thank you so much for jumping on the phone.
You're seeing this play out, just as we're all seeing this play out in Hong Kong airport together. What is the significance of this moment and what
CHINOY: Well, I think what we've seen here in the last couple of days with the occupation of Hong Kong airport has been an attempt by the protesters
to take their tactic of disruption sort of regardless of the costs and paralyze a central part of the city. People come and go tens of thousands
What the protesters appear to have been wanting to do by paralyzing the airport is to try and press home the demands that they have from the
But at the same time, it seems clear now that this is a relatively small radical group that's engaged in essentially disruption for its own sake,
although it has been, until now, peaceful at the airport.
But for the Hong Kong government, this is a huge crisis because the government seems unable or unwilling to take the steps to clear the
airport. You've had massive disruption for two days.
And the question is, how long is the government prepared to let this go on. And at what point will either the Hong Kong authorities or the authorities
in Beijing decide that enough is enough, that images of the airport of this huge city being paralyzed crosses a line that requires a very forceful
BOLDUAN: This seems to be an inflection point that we're looking at. This has been really the past two days of the airport being the focus of the
protests and where they've gone.
But beyond that, we've been talking about months of protests on the streets of Hong Kong and clashes with police there. Beyond the airport, where does
this all stand?
CHINOY: I think we're at a very dangerous moment here. This protest movement has been going on for most of the summer. The government has
essentially refused to give into most of the demands of the protesters.
It started out as a demand for the government to withdraw a bill that would allow the easy extradition of people from Hong Kong to mainland China, and
people in Hong Kong don't trust the Chinese legal system, so they were against that. And the government now says that bill is dead.
But the confrontations with the police and the aggressive behavior by the police, massive amounts of tear gas in densely populated areas and so on,
has really infuriated people. So the demands escalated for an independent commission to investigate the issue for greater representative government
and democratic reform in Hong Kong. And the Hong Kong authorities have dug in and said, we're not giving in on anything.
So what you now have is an increasingly frustrated group, particularly kind of hard-core protesters who see that they're not getting anywhere and seem
determined, therefore, that they feel their only choice is to try to disrupt things wherever they can.
Meanwhile, the noises, the signals from Beijing have become increasingly harsh.
CHINOY: The language used by Chinese Communist Party has become tougher and tougher.
And so the question is, at what point will the authorities decide that they're really going to have to crack down. There's concern about whether
or not there might be possible intervention by the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Although, I think that's somewhat unlikely.
But the Hong Kong police, as we've seen in the last few days, seem to be incapable of, for example, clearing the airport and getting operations back
to normal. And this does raise the question of, at what point do the powers that be, either here or in Beijing, decide enough is enough.
[11:40:04] BOLDUAN: Yes. And just how many days are they going to -- from their perspective, allow images like what we're seeing play out in
Hong Kong airport right now continue is a really key question.
You talked about how Beijing is reacting and very clearly losing patience. I'm looking at a quote from one official saying, "Those who play by fire
will perish by it. Don't ever misjudge the situation and mistake our restraint for weakness."
If that's not a warning, Mike, I'm not sure what is.
CHINOY: The Chinese have been making very clear that what started out as a peaceful protest movement for essentially internal Hong Kong issues, which
I think is still that, despite this extreme fringe, but the Chinese authorities are now talking about this as a color revolution, as a
challenge to the authority of the Chinese Communist Party.
And don't forget, China is now ruled by a ruler, Xi Jinping, who has taken a very tough line internally, increased domestic repression, and become
much more assertive internationally.
This is seen in Beijing as a major challenge to the central authorities. It's gone beyond, in Beijing's view, just internal Hong Kong issues. And
it's a huge embarrassment that it continues like this without any resolution.
On the other hand, it's not going to be so simple to just go in and clear the streets.
I was in Beijing in 1989 covering Tiananmen Square for CNN. That was one piece of real estate in a flat urban area. This is one the most densely
populated city in the world, full of high-rises. It's not going to be so easy in a purely military sense. So I think China wants to hold off from
doing that hoping that the Hong Kong police can do the job.
The question is, with scenes like we're seeing and what are being shown now around the world on television, where the police look ineffectual, at what
point does Beijing decide they've got to do something. Nobody knows the answer to that but that's the central concern here.
BOLDUAN: It raises real concern in everyone's mind, any kind of relation to Tiananmen Square to what we're seeing in Hong Kong.
Mike, thank you so much for jumping on. I really appreciate it, as we're watching this all play out.
Let me get back to the airport where Paula Hancocks has been for us.
Paula, it's seems -- it's almost remarkable how quickly it flairs up and then subsides. And also amazing how you have -- you see passengers below
you moving about and then protesters beside you putting up barricades against riot police. It's truly remarkable.
What are you seeing now?
HANCOCKS: Kate, a bit of an update. It appears as though the police have left. It appears as though the riot police have left. The regular police
have left. And they have moved at least away from the front of the Hong Kong International Airport.
So you can see that many people here are ready for them. You can see the barricade they have brought up here. They've used all the trollies to try
and keep -- (COUGHING). And the police have now left.
BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Paula. I saw you needed a moment. Please continue.
HANCOCKS: Thank you.
So a lot of the protesters appear to have left as well. Certainly, downstairs.
I was talking about, just a moment ago, where people were still arriving and it was a regular functioning arrivals hall. That was where thousands
of protesters had put up propaganda posters and all sorts of things. They have now cleared away all of that. They have tidied up after themselves
and all of the protesters have gone.
That was packed with people just 15 minutes ago. But since the riot police made an appearance, a very fleeting appearance but, quite frankly, one
could say a very effective appearance, it does appear as though a number of these protesters, who wanted a peaceful protest, have now left or at least
they've certainly dispersed from this area where we are, the arrivals hall and the departures hall.
There's a small contingent that have put up the barricades that have the gas masks and helmets on, that may potentially, may want some kind of
confrontation with the police. It appears as though they will be deprived of that, at least for now, because the police appear to have left.
But I can't underplay or overstate just how significant it is that riot police were even at the entrance of the Hong Kong International Airport, an
airport that is the eighth busiest in the world, that has about 74 million people coming through this airport last year alone.
And then you have riot police who are spraying pepper spray, as far as we could tell from the injuries of those protesters coming in and having their
eyes washed out, just at the entrance of the airport. So really quite remarkable scenes that we're seeing here tonight.
[11:45:11] BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And we're continuing to see it on the left side of your screen, Paula. It appears it's in a different part of
the airport from where you are. But we're looking at images coming in live of protesters kind of on top of a structure using umbrellas, which they've
been using throughout the protest for months, to disguise themselves, but also now using the umbrellas to cover up security cameras in the airport.
Let me get to Ivan Watson who is joining me on the phone. He's on the way there.
Ivan, can you hear me?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): I can hear you fine, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.
I've been talking to Paula about what we've been seeing play out inside the airport. You've been there for weeks, if not months. Talk to me about --
about the atmosphere of how this has all played out in Hong Kong, the atmosphere in Hong Kong, and what that means now as we're looking at the
chaos in this airport.
WATSON: This was a city that had a reputation for stability and efficiency. And what we've seen now going into the 11th week is, week
after week of protests, where the confrontations between the security forces and the protesters have gotten increasingly ugly with outside groups
of civilians getting involved.
And the scene at the airport, starting with its closer on Monday, when demonstrators besieged it and basically blocked -- created a blockade on
Monday, and forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights. And then a repeat today with more physical confrontation with passengers than we had
seen the previous day. It's just a scene that's gotten uglier and uglier with no signs of compromise between the city government and the
And it just feels like one massive self-inflicted wound by both sides, unwilling to find a compromise and resorting to do more and more damage to
their own city in their effort to try to get some kind of an upper hand in this incredible test of wills.
BOLDUAN: And for our viewers, we're not really clear what is coming in live right now. We're watching videos showing us what is happening with
protesters and we're going to continue watching this.
But it looks like protesters are taking someone kind of -- holding someone down and kind of handcuffing them like they would -- the kind of thing that
riot police would use.
There have been some fears amongst protesters, and correct me if I'm wrong, Ivan, of undercover police kind of infiltrating, if you will, and walking
amongst the protesters and monitoring their movements in the airport and kind of on the streets as well, right?
WATSON: Certainly. That's part of the narrative here and that's created more paranoia. Amid clashes on Sunday that I was covering in different
neighborhoods around Hong Kong, stories and anecdotes emerged of possible undercover police. And police commanders kind of alluded to that in press
So according to our reporters on the ground, the demonstrators detained an individual that was suspected of being an undercover police officer.
And what our reporters on the ground have said is that those demonstrators then refused any medical first aid access to that person, who then became
unconscious, which is just an ugly turn of events and will definitely damage the reputation of these protesters, who have tried to kind of
present themselves as heroes to bystanders.
But the fact is, with their escalation of this campaign of civil disobedience, what they've done is ensnared a lot of innocent bystanders in
this ongoing drama here.
I was in the airport last night. I met a young mother with a 1-year-old infant who was just stuck there sleeping on the floor overnight with no
information about what was to happen with her future flight.
And the kids would come and try to offer her and her baby water, the protesting kids, because most of them are quite young, teenagers, 20 years
And when I translated for this woman -- she was Russian -- that she doesn't know what's going to happen, what her fate is and she's stranded there,
they would say, I'm sorry, we're fighting for our freedom, kind of viewing this infant stuck in the airport at 11:00 at night as kind of collateral
damage in their test of wills with the city authorities, and, by extension, the Communist Party rulers in Beijing.
[11:50:03] BOLDUAN: Let me also ask you kind of what has -- what we know, at least, since there's a lot of unknowns, but what we know has transpired
in the last few minutes since we've been on air, is we saw multiple large police buses pulling up to the airport. We saw police in riot gear
outside. We saw some police walking into, it looked like a brief moment, into the airport and now out.
Now Paula is telling us that the police buses have at least left from that location. I don't know if entirely left the airport or what.
That just seems really surprising that they would show this big -- present this big show of force and then turn around. What do you think?
WATSON: Kate, I've seen, on multiple occasions now, riot police move in, do a show of force, maybe fire tear gas and bang their clubs on their
shields and intimidate people and scatter protesters, and then withdraw amid roars of outrage not only from demonstrators but from ordinary
citizens as well.
This has been what's been so peculiar about this cycle of confrontation is that, so far, it has not clearly been a lethal drama playing out here.
Nobody has gotten killed in the confrontations directly.
And the police in Hong Kong are -- while their tactics have grown more violent with every passing week, and the protesters are more violent, there
has been a reluctance to use the kind of deadly force that you might see, for example, the U.S. law enforcement using in the event of threats out on
We haven't seen, for example, people using live rounds, deadly force on the part of the Hong Kong police. And there's a real, I think, reluctance that
if they go too far, that they could create more outrage and cause more harm amid public opinion here in Hong Kong.
Some of the scenes where young people have been battered with clubs or hit with clubs and tear gas and then bystanders have been hit as well, that's
created backlash for law enforcement here. So that may be part of the reasoning here.
But it's a real dilemma that the city authorities face.
WATSON: What do you do with thousands and thousands of kids who refuse to -- who are just defying the police?
BOLDUAN: Yes. It looks like we are seeing that yet again. And we saw that play out -- literally we're seeing it play out live right now as we
are looking at images which we don't know, but it looks like protesters as you were describing, you've seen before, it looks like they're doing it yet
again, detaining someone in the airport, sitting them down on a luggage trolley to detain them.
Again, this is in Hong Kong International Airport, one of the largest airports in the world and what we're seeing play out at this moment.
Ivan, thank you so much. Ivan is on the way to the scene. I really appreciate it, Ivan.
While we're watching these images continue to bring in, let me bring in Will Ripley, our CNN international correspondent, based in Hong Kong. He's
been living there quite a long time, having a moment in New York actually at the moment.
Will, but I'm so glad you are here.
Talk to me about what you are seeing here, what this means. And also how China is viewing what we are seeing play out here today, yesterday and,
honestly, what we've been seeing for months now.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This, Kate, is an escalating battle for the future of Hong Kong. These are young people who
feel essentially they have nothing to lose.
They feel that mainland China is slowly tightening its grip on Hong Kong, which is a semi-autonomous special administrative region of China since the
handover in 1997.
And so they're not afraid, protesters say, of a confrontation with the mainland because they feel that is inevitable anyway. They feel it's
coming anyway, that China will eventually create the same kind of conditions and restrictions on their freedom and their life on the
mainland, for the billions of people who live there.
So for these people, even if it's a small minority in Hong Kong, they feel that it's a fight for their life and their future.
What we're seeing is the mainland kind of creating this narrative that the protesters are becoming increasingly dangerous, almost terrorists.
And videos have been posted on some Chinese state media of armed military police from the mainland assembling a very short distance from Hong Kong.
Keep in mind, there's a new bridge that connects the mainland with Hong Kong so, theoretically, a convoy of military vehicles could travel across
from China to Hong Kong very quickly and move in.
[11:55:07] And these videos are a deliberate attempt, Kate, to intimidate the protesters, to let them know, if Beijing decides to intervene -- which
would be a very tough decision -- but if they decide to do it, it will be a very firm, very swift, very decisive move on the part of mainland China.
In some way, I wonder if these young people are pushing for that because they feel like it's inevitable anyway.
BOLDUAN: I was wondering what the options are when you see what is happening here. Neither side is backing down. It's only escalating at
this point. Will, what do you think?
RIPLEY: I don't see it dying down at this stage. I don't see how this ends without some sort of bigger force to move these people out, because
what the police are doing just isn't working. You saw even police in riot gear had to pull back because they're overwhelmed by the numbers.
I have been in and out of Hong Kong's airport so many times. I covered the protests back five years ago. Never anything like this.
Will, thank you so much.
Thank you all so much. Much more on this breaking news after a quick break.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King.
We begin this hour with dramatic breaking news. Remarkable pictures. You see them right there. This is Hong Kong, its airport. A dramatic clash
between protesters and riot police. Protesters overran that airport for a second straight day, paralyzing commercial air traffic.
[12:00:02] Last hour, riot police tried to move in with busses in tow. Police say the operation was not to clear the protesters.