Taxi drivers have gathered in the heart of the city to herald Hong Kong’s 25th anniversary of the Handover with flags and slogans.

Taxi drivers gathered in Central to mark Hong Kong’s 25th Handover anniversary on June 28, 2022. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

Around 250 drivers took part in the Tuesday afternoon event organised by the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association, which saw their vehicles arranged in a “25” to mark the number of years since the former British colony was returned to China.

Wong Tai-hoi, the secretary general of the union, told reporters he was pleased to see the turnout, adding that “many taxi drivers were happy to come out and celebrate.”

Wong Tai-hoi, Secretary General of the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association (left). Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

“Under the national security law and with ‘patriots’ now leading Hong Kong, we hope Hong Kong will return to normal,” Wong said. “If Hong Kong is stable, then we taxi drivers can make a living. That’s the message we want to express today.”

He added that the past few years had not been “ideal” for taxi drivers, who saw business heavily affected by protests in 2014 and 2019.

Taxi drivers gathered in Central to mark Hong Kong’s 25th Handover anniversary on June 28, 2022. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

“As taxi drivers, the roads are our office,” Wong said.

The event was held at a vacant lot owned by property giant Henderson Land Development near the Central Harbourfront. Wong thanked Henderson for lending the union the lot.

Taxi drivers gathered in Central to mark Hong Kong’s 25th Handover anniversary on June 28, 2022. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

One taxi driver told HKFP that he had been there since 9 a.m. Mr Tam said that even though he was taking time out of his work day to join, his participation was worth it.

“I don’t mind [sacrificing some income]. It’s the 25th anniversary this year,” the 53-year-old said.

Mr Tam was among the taxi drivers who took part in the event. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

He added that the government had been “doing 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.

A representative from the Taxi Drivers and Operators Association points the way for a taxi driver. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

Each taxi was decorated with a China flag and red and gold posters reading “welcome Chairperson Xi’s attendance at Hong Kong’s 25th Handover Anniversary celebrations and the inauguration of the sixth-term government.”

Representatives from the taxi drivers’ union adorn a taxi driver with celebratory slogans. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

Workers with the taxi union were seen sticking the posters on the taxis.

A LED display reading “25th Handover anniversary” on a taxi. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

Police officers patrolled the vicinity, with traffic officers parking their motorbikes outside.

Traffic cops on standby outside the taxi drivers’ union event. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

HKFP reached out to the union to ask whether it had an aerial shot of the vehicles arranged in the formation of the number 25. Wong said they did not as they were unable to register for a permit to fly a drone over the lot.

Taxi drivers gathered in Central to mark Hong Kong’s 25th Handover anniversary on June 28, 2022. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

Hong Kong is gearing up for its 25th Handover anniversary celebrations this Friday. Police said on Tuesday that authorities would seal off roads and flyovers in areas where Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit.

Top officials attending the celebrations checked into hotels in Wan Chai on Monday as part of “closed-loop” arrangements meant to minimise 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 beginning of the pandemic over two years ago.

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Hillary Leung

Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.