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LC Urgent Q1: Maintaining public order and ensuring safety of LegCo personnel and the public

     Following is an urgent question by the Hon Tang Ka-piu under Rule 24(4) of the Rules of Procedure and a reply by the Acting Secretary for Security, Mr John Lee, in the Legislative Council yesterday (June 18):


     Over the last two Fridays when the Finance Committee (FC) of this Council was scrutinising the funding application relating to the North East New Territories New Development Areas, some of the protesters employed violent means and attempted to force their way into the Legislative Council Complex (the Complex). They charged at the police officers and security staff of the Legislative Council Secretariat, causing injuries to a number of people (including more than 10 security staff of the Secretariat) and damages to certain facilities of the Complex. As FC will continue to scrutinise the aforesaid funding application this Friday, and it has been reported that the protesters will resort to violent acts again, will the Government inform this Council of the emergency measures to be taken by the Police for upholding the law as well as maintaining public order so as to protect the personal safety of the people, including police officers and security staff, present at the scene?



     During the meeting of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council (LegCo) on June 13, protesters forced themselves into the LegCo Complex by violent means, causing damage to many parts of the building. They seized and pushed over mills barriers, charged their way into various entrances of the Complex, smashed the glass doors at different places and damaged the building facade. The fire prevention door of one of the emergency exits was broken. The protesters' storming caused interruption to the LegCo Committee meeting. Six security officers of the LegCo and four Police officers were injured when carrying out their duties, and among whom, one security officer sustained a toe fracture. The protesters' violent acts posed serious threat to the personal safety of all those at the scene, which included LegCo Members, security officers and Police officers on duty, and even members of the public whose original intention was to express their views in a peaceful manner, thereby causing severe damage to public order and public peace.

     After the incident, the SAR Government and various sectors of the community strongly condemned the aggressive and violent acts of the protesters. The Police are now conducting investigation into the incident as appropriate. The persons involved shall be held criminally responsible and brought to justice.

     Security management within the LegCo precincts falls within the LegCo Commission's purview, which is supported by the LegCo Secretariat. There are established measures on the part of LegCo in managing protest activities at the LegCo Complex and its surrounding areas. Under normal circumstances, the Police will not take part in LegCo's security management. It is only upon receipt of the LegCo Secretariat's request for assistance or a report shall the Police, after giving notification to the Secretariat, enter the LegCo Complex. In dealing with a serious security problem or an emergency situation that may possibly occur, the LegCo may seek assistance from the Police, which shall handle the issue in a proactive manner. The Police would conduct comprehensive assessments on the public order events in question or any aggressive acts, and make appropriate deployment to respond to any incidents that may occur for maintaining public order and ensuring the safety of LegCo personnel and the public.

     Members are concerned that protestors may stage another storming to the LegCo Complex by aggressive means this Friday. We understand that the LegCo Commission and LegCo Secretariat have held a meeting to discuss and review the storming of LegCo that took place last Friday, and explore various ways to enhance the security measures inside and outside the LegCo Complex. In a bid to ensure public safety and public order, as well as to safeguard the safety of the public, the LegCo Secretariat is actively liaising with the Police on security issues for the coming Friday in an effort to work out an effective arrangement and various contingency measures, in particular targeting the possible aggressive acts of certain people who are determined to storm into or force their way into the LegCo Complex.

     Hong Kong is a law-abiding society. The Government respects the freedom and rights of the public under the Basic Law to processions and conduct peaceful assembly. In exercising the rights to express their aspirations, participants of public meetings and processions shall observe the laws of Hong Kong and conduct such activities in a peaceful manner. They shall not engage in any act to the detriment of public safety and public order. We have to reiterate that no violent acts shall be tolerated or spared. The Police will take decisive actions against any acts in contravention of the law or in breach of public peace or public order, including immediate arrest, so as to ensure that public safety and public order are not to be jeopardised.

Ends/Thursday, June 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:27


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