Hong Kong Open postponed due to protest violence

Hong Kong Open tournament organisers said in October the competition would go ahead despite social unrest in the city. Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images

The Hong Kong Open golf tournament has been postponed after violence from anti-government protests escalated this week, the Asian Tour and European Tour said on Wednesday.

An extended, violent siege at Polytechnic University, where police encircled students and activists, has raised tensions in the city to a new high.

"Regretfully the European Tour, in conjunction with our tournament co-sanctioning partner at the Asian Tour, has taken the decision to postpone next week's Hong Kong Open, scheduled for the Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1," tour officials said in a joint statement.

"The safety of our players, staff, stakeholders and everyone involved in each and every one of our tournaments around the world is our top priority," the statement continued. "We feel this is the correct, but unfortunate, course of action.

"An attempt will be made to reschedule the tournament to early 2020."

In October, tournament organisers said they would press on with the 60th edition of the competition despite ongoing social unrest in the city.

The Hong Kong Open is not the first sporting event to be affected by the political climate in Hong Kong this year. The Hong Kong Open tennis tournament -- scheduled for October -- was postponed, and China football fans turned their backs during their nation's anthem before a World Cup qualifier against Iran in September.