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LC Urgent Q2: Render assistance to LegCo in its response to serious security problems or emergencies

     Following is an urgent question by the Hon Ip Kwok-him 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):


     On the night of last Friday, June 13, the Legislative Council Complex (the Complex) was stormed by more than one thousand protesters. In an attempt to force their way into the Complex, the protesters damaged the security facilities of the Complex, forcibly pulled away the mills barriers placed in the demonstration area outside the Complex, and tried to pry open the doors with bamboo poles. The violent attacks by the protesters have resulted in damages to several parts of the Complex and the early adjournment, due to security concerns, of the meeting of the Finance Committee (FC) of the Legislative Council (LegCo), which was then scrutinising the funding application relating to the North East New Territories New Development Areas, thus hindering the normal operation of LegCo. Some people also impeded LegCo Members' free entry into and exit from the Complex. Some people have threatened that they will storm the Complex again when FC continues to scrutinise the aforesaid funding application this Friday, June 20. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether the Police have immediately reviewed their deployment at the Complex last Friday, in particular if the police manpower deployed to the scene was adequate; if they have, of the results;

(2) how the Police assess the possible risks of disruption of public order outside the Complex this Friday in order to make corresponding deployment; and

(3) given the situation last Friday and the fact that some people have threatened that they will storm the Complex again during the FC meeting this Friday, whether the Police have planned to increase the police manpower to be deployed, and to co-operate with the LegCo Secretariat on issues such as how to prevent protesters from violently storming the Complex, as well as ensuring that the FC meeting will not be interfered and LegCo Members can enter and leave the Complex safely and freely?



     My reply to Hon Ip Kwok-him's question is as follows:

(1) Security management within the Legislative Council (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. Unlike other general public places, the LegCo Complex is under the management of the LegCo. Hence, under normal circumstances, the Police will not arbitrarily enter the LegCo Complex and shall observe as far as possible the relevant procedures of the LegCo. Generally speaking, it is upon receipt of the LegCo Secretariat's request for assistance in handling incidents involving public safety, public order or law and order, or receipt of a report, shall the Police, after liaising with the LegCo Secretariat, enter the LegCo Complex to render assistance.

     During the meeting of the LegCo Finance Committee on June 13, protesters stormed the LegCo Complex by violent means, causing damage to various parts of the LegCo Complex. The Police took actions to respond to the storming and illegal acts.  During the operation, the Police arrested a total of 21 people suspected of obstructing officer of the Council while in the execution of his duty, interrupting the proceedings of a committee while the committee is sitting, obstructing police officers and assaulting police officers. Finally the Police put the situation under control and removed 190 people from the scene. The operation was taken by the Police in response to the request of the LegCo Secretariat for assistance to ensure public order and public safety.

     After handling the violent storming incident, the Police have drawn experience on a range of issues, including operational deployment, logistics arrangements, and liaison and co-operation with the LegCo Secretariat and security officers. The purpose is to respect the consideration and arrangements of the LegCo on one hand, and on the other to facilitate effective deployment by the Police to handle and prevent recurrence of similar violent acts, so as to render assistance to the LegCo Secretariat in its response to serious security problems or emergencies.

(2) and (3) Members are concerned about any possible violent acts by protesters to storm the LegCo Complex again this Friday. We understand that the LegCo Commission and LegCo Secretariat have held a meeting to discuss and review the LegCo storming incident that took place last Friday, and explore various ways to enhance security measures inside and outside the LegCo Complex. The Police will 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. 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 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 20:41


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