The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has just raised its travel advice level for Australians visiting Hong Kong amid fears that ongoing protests could become even more volatile.

Australians are now asked to “exercise a high degree of caution” with tourist areas affected and a real risk of violent confrontation between protestors and police.

“Protests have become more unpredictable and are expected to continue,” explains DFAT on the smartraveller website.

DFAT has warned Australian travellers that the risk is greater at night and on weekends.

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“We strongly recommend you avoid large public gatherings. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities,” they said.

Australian consulate staff in Hong Kong have expressed concerns that Australian visitors are at risk of being caught up in the unrest – especially when moving about in densely populated areas.

Earlier this week police fired tear gas at protesters after a general strike hit transport.

The protests began back in June in response plans to impose an extradition bill in the semi-autonomous state that would allow Beijing to extradite Hong Kong residents to the mainland.

Image: Hong Kong protests by AP

China has warned that it will be “only a matter of time” before it punishes those behind the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

According to the ABC there is even growing speculation that the Chinese Government will send in the People’s Liberation Army to combat the protesters.

More information can also be found via updates on the Hong Kong Police facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HongKongPoliceForce.