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Long queues at Hangzhou tourist area amid G20 security blitz

Long queues appeared on Saturday night near entrances to Hangzhou’s West Lake, the city’s most popular tourist destination and a cherished place for an evening stroll for residents.

Ahead of the G20 summit, security was tight as more than a hundred visitors waited in line to pass through new security points.

Riding an electric bike with her daughter to the lake after dinner on Saturday, resident Liu decided to return home when she saw the long queue.

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“It seems that it will take us at least 30 minutes, and I don’t want to wait,” she said.

Yet Liu said the security and traffic controls should not cause too much inconvenience if she could go elsewhere.

“All this just to host a meeting,” huffed another visitor, who declined to be named. He was surprised to see the long queue when he left the scenic area.

On September 4 and 5, leaders of the 20 largest economies will meet for the G20 summit.

“All vehicles and electric bikes need a pass to enter the West Lake. Individuals need to pass the security check and show your ID card,” a volunteer told visitors.

Under the security measures, bus services have been adjusted since Saturday with bus stops inside the lake area suspended until September 6.

The crowd was smaller during the day yesterday as residents prefer to take evening walks around the lake.

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Taxi drivers have also been hit hard by the tightened traffic controls, as well a drop in the number of tourists to the city.

Taxi driver Pei Jie, who started work at 2.30pm on Saturday, said he earned just 150 yuan (HK$175) by 8.30pm.

Pei said he would take a break later until after the summit as he expected traffic controls to tighten further as the conference drew near.

“I can’t even cover my rent and fuel costs, so why don’t I take a rest and stay home?” he said.