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LCQ20: Boundary control points

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon Lau Kong-wah in the Legislative Council today (March 30):


     It has been reported that when the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line (LMCSL) Control Point opened at 6.30am on 11th of this month, the accordion electric folding gate at the arrival hall on the second floor malfunctioned and could not be opened for half an hour. During that period, the Immigration Department (ImmD) led visitors to the departure hall on the first floor via the emergency access to complete immigration clearance procedures. The incident caused delay to the journey of more than 300 visitors for up to 45 minutes. Some visitors considered the "closure of boundary" lasting for tens of minutes due to malfunctioning of folding gates a serious incident, reflecting that ImmD had not put in place proper contingency measures (including inadequate signages for the emergency access and the failure of staff to check the various facilities in the Control Point before opening hours, etc.). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) apart from LMCSL Control Point, whether electric folding gates of the same type are used at other boundary control points; of the number of cases of malfunctioning of such gates in the past five years and the reasons for malfunctioning; which government department or organisation is responsible for the regular maintenance and repair works of the various facilities (e.g. electric gates, etc.) at various boundary control points; how often such works are carried out; and how it ensures that the staff at boundary control points are aware of and familiar with the operation of the facilities;

(b) given that LMCSL Control Point has come into operation only for less than four years when the problem of malfunctioning of folding gates occurred, whether the authorities will pursue with the government department or organisation responsible for the maintenance of the gates over the responsibility of the incident; and whether comprehensive checks will be conducted on other folding gates of the same design; and

(c) whether ImmD has drawn up contingency measures (e.g. those for diverting visitor flows) for various potential crises at various boundary control points; if it has, of the contents and procedure of the measures, and whether drills have been carried out for such contingency measures; if so, how often such drills are carried out; if no such drills have been carried out, how it ensures that all frontline staff are familiar with the contents and procedures of the contingency measures and plans; and whether it will review the existing "one-way" design of the computers at the immigration counters of boundary control points, which can perform either immigration or departure clearance procedure only?



     In the morning of March 11, when making preparations for the opening of the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line (LMCSL) Control Point, staff of the Immigration Department (ImmD) found that the electric roller shutter, locating at the arrival hall on the second floor facing the footbridge connecting Shenzhen, was malfunctioning. ImmD has immediately taken mitigating measures and directed south-bound passengers to the departure hall on the first floor to conduct immigration clearance therein. ImmD, in conjunction with the Police, has also stepped up crowd management. Besides, ImmD staff has immediately arranged for emergency repairs by maintenance personnel. The electric roller shutter was duly repaired at 7am (i.e. 30 minutes after the normal opening hour), and immigration service fully resumed by then.

     My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:

(a) and (b) Apart from the LMCSL Control Point, the Lo Wu and Shenzhen Bay Control Points are also equipped with electric roller shutters of the same design. Apart from the incident on March 11, there have not been any other malfunctioning of such electric gates at these three control points over the past five years.

     Maintenance and repair works of equipment (including electric roller shutters) at all control points are carried out by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, Architectural Services Department and their contractors. These departments regularly conduct inspections and upgrade equipment to ensure proper functioning. User guides are issued to responsible staff to enable them to effectively operate the equipment.

(c) ImmD have devised various contingency plans to handle emergency situations which may arise at the boundary control points. These plans set out the procedures to be taken by staff in case of emergencies, such as liaising with relevant departments and agencies and taking appropriate measures to minimise possible impacts on service to passengers. Drills and exercises are also conducted at the boundary control points in a regular manner to ensure that the staff are familiar with the contingency plans. For example, drills are conducted on computer system failure quarterly and fire drills annually. In view of the incident at the LMCSL Control Point, the ImmD, the Police, the Customs and Excise Department, and the Mass Transit Railway Corporation conducted a drill on March 24 to simulate the malfunctioning of equipment.

     At present, the computer system for the immigration counters at all control points are designed to handle both immigration and departure clearance.

Ends/Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Issued at HKT 15:11


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