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PUTRAJAYA: Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has advised Malaysians who are in or plan to travel to Hong Kong to be vigilant during their stay there.

He said this following a travel notice that was issued today by the ministry, urging Malaysians to be cautious and stay away from possible flash point areas.

"The travel advisory is to remind Malaysians to keep themselves safe over there.

"I advise them to stay away from the demonstrations for their own safety," Saifuddin told reporters after hosting a farewell high tea for Vatican ambassador to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, who has served for more than six years here.

Reuters reported that anti-government protesters had paralysed parts of Hong Kong for the fifth day today, forcing schools to close and some highways blocked, as students built barricades in university campuses and authorities struggled to tame the violence.

The protests escalated in June over a now-scrapped extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (centre), Vatican ambassador to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino (4th left) take a picture with members of the Friendship Group of Inter-Religious Services (FGIS) during the farewell high tea ceremony at Wisma Putra. -NSTP/Luqman Hakim Zubir

Asked if the government would bring home Malaysian students there, Saifuddin replied: "Not at the moment."

There are about 400 Malaysian students in Hong Kong to date, as well as 15,544 Malaysians residing there.

In 2018, Malaysia’s total trade with Hong Hong was at RM89.63 billion.

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry had issued a travel notice, advising Malaysians in Hong Kong that some districts there might be affected by the ongoing demonstrations and protests.

"The disruptions to movement and public transportation could take place without notice. Therefore, at this point of time, Malaysian travellers are advised to defer non-essential travel to the affected areas," it added.

Riot police stand in the middle of a street in Central district in Hong Kong. - Reuters

The ministry said Malaysians in Hong Kong were advised to avoid any demonstrations areas and take all necessary precautions to ensure personal safety.

"Malaysians are advised to remain vigilant, be aware of surroundings and continue to monitor the latest developments via local news or announcements issued by the local authorities.

"Malaysians in Hong Kong are also strongly advised to register with the Consulate General of Malaysia in Hong Kong SAR via email," it said.

The ministry said Malaysians requiring consular assistance and services could contact the Consulate General of Malaysia at +852 2821 0800 / +852-6900-6390 [WhatsApp/WeChat] after office hours or fax to +852 28651628 or email to [email protected].

Demonstrators raise their hands as they attend a protest at the Central District in Hong Kong. - Reuters
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