August 20, 2019 / 4:32 AM / 3 months ago

Singapore universities cancel Hong Kong exchanges after travel warning - report

Anti-extradition bill protesters march to demand democracy and political reforms, in Hong Kong, China August 18, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore universities have cancelled exchange programmes to Hong Kong after Singapore warned its citizens to defer travel to the territory amid pro-democracy demonstrations, news website Today reported on Tuesday.

Singapore’s foreign ministry said in an advisory last week warning against non-essential travel that large protests in Hong Kong have become unpredictable and could turn violent with little or no notice.

Singapore universities - the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University - have subsequently advised students that exchanges and trips to Hong Kong had been cancelled, Today reported. The website is owned by Singapore’s largest broadcaster, Mediacorp.

The three universities and the education ministry did not comment immediately when contacted by Reuters.

The protests in Hong Kong began in June as opposition to a now-suspended bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.

They have since swelled into wider calls for democracy and have become increasingly violent, scaring off tourists, eroding business confidence and putting the city on the verge of its first recession in a decade.

Reporting by John Geddie and Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Paul Tait

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