A STEVENSTON man was caught up in last week’s anti-Chinese Government protests which halted flights at Hong Kong International Airport.

Niall Brown was faced with masked protesters while he tried to return home from a business trip. The demonstrators, part of Hong Kong’s ongoing pro-democracy protests, barricaded check-in desks and violently clashed with police.

But thanks to Niall’s negotiating skills, the 29-year-old was able to get both himself and a terrified young woman safely through to the check-ins.

A video emerged on Twitter showing Niall pleading with the demonstrators to let him pass, before they allow him and the woman through.

The former Auchenharvie pupil, who lives in Barcelona, told the Herald: “I’m back now, thank God. I was scared. It was some experience.

“My flight was supposed to be Monday night [August 12], but the airport was mental, so they cancelled all the flights. It was terrifying because I went to the airport and it was crazy. People were fighting, things were getting flung, there was shouting, singing.”

Niall returned to the airport the following day [August 13], hoping that the demonstrations might have calmed down and he would be able to fly home.

He said: “The airport was even worse the day after. They were hitting my shins with trolleys, poking me in the ribs, saying, ‘We don’t care, we’re protesting for democracy’. It was scary, there were guys with bats.

“They actually barricaded the check-ins with trolleys. It took me two-and-a-half hours to get through the protesters.

“There was a Chinese woman with me. She said, ‘Because you’re tall can I come with you?’ She was terrified. She said if they found out she was speaking Chinese Mandarin they might attack her. She was crying. That’s when I thought I need to help her. She actually had an interview in Manchester, so she needed to get through. She text me later to say it went well.

“What you saw on the video, I had never had any dialogue with the protestors at that point. That was the first time I tried – I’m glad it worked. I have no political opinions about it, I just never wanted to be stuck there another day, especially with the way it turned out with violence.

“When I got through to the departure lounge there was no one. The plane was empty. It was half full which is very unusual for a big jumbo jet.

“I’m glad I did it. If I spent another night there – the Chinese Government are in the border waiting to get in – I’d probably have been there for another two weeks. No one wants to spend two weeks in an airport.”