The Sunday Mail
Relatives of Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have expressed anger after being told they must leave their Beijing hotel a day after the airline said it would stop providing accommodation.
“I’m very angry,” said Steven Wang, whose mother was on the flight.
“Malaysia Airlines have suddenly told us to leave,” he added.
“They should have at least given us an adjustment period for us to make preparations and collect our things.”
There was a heavy police presence at the Lido hotel in Beijing on Friday, with dozens of uniformed officers inside.
The airline announced late on Thursday that it was ending all hotel accommodation for passengers’ relatives by next Wednesday.
The carrier has provided the service in a number of countries — most of them in Malaysia and China — where relatives also received periodic updates on the situation following the flight’s mysterious disappearance on 8 March.
In the statement, however, the airline said it was advising families “to receive information updates on the progress of the search and investigation and other support by Malaysia Airlines within the comfort of their own homes”.
It said it would be closing all of its family assistance centres by 7 May.
It was unclear why the relatives at the Lido were being asked to leave earlier than 7 May.
The airline did not immediately respond on Friday to a request for comment.
Relatives’ tempers have repeatedly flared throughout the ordeal of the missing plane, particularly at the Lido, where Chinese families have regularly lashed out at officials from the Malaysian government and the airline over their inability to explain the disappearance.
“We’re helpless,” said Wen Wancheng, whose son was on the flight.
“We have no options now, and we’re informed to pack up and check out. I’m packing already. I have to leave soon.”
Wen said relatives at the Lido had been requested to leave by 6pm on Friday, though a committee of them was appealing against the move, meaning it was “not certain” he would leave.
Wang said negotiations were ongoing, but that a protest or group action was unlikely, adding that families would probably leave individually rather than as a group. — Guardian.com