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LCQ13: Sha Tau Kok Town

     Following is a question by the Dr Hon Elizabeth Quat and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, in the Legislative Council today (November 26):


     The Double Haven (Yan Chau Tong) Geo-Area (the Geo-Area) of the Hong Kong Global Geopark of China covers places such as Sha Tau Kok and Lai Chi Wo.  Some residents living in the vicinity of the Geo-Area have relayed to me that very few travellers visit the Geo-Area due to inadequate ancillary transport facilities for the Geo-Area.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) given that at present, travellers visit Lai Chi Wo mainly by ferry from the Sha Tau Kok pier (STK pier) but the travellers must produce a Closed Area Permit (CAP) issued by the Police for entry to the STK pier, which is located inside the Frontier Closed Area (FCA), whether the Government will consider relaxing the relevant restrictions, such as issuing CAPs to group visitors, so as to facilitate travellers visiting Lai Chi Wo via the STK pier, thereby providing impetus to the economic development in Sha Tau Kok; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) whether it will consider removing the area around the STK pier from the coverage of FCA, so as to facilitate travellers visiting the Geo-Area; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(3) whether it will consider incorporating the following work into the policy areas for which the Tourism Commission is responsible: the Geo-Area's tourism development, enhancement of its ancillary facilities (such as pier facilities) and promotion of the Geo-Area to overseas tourists; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     Having consulted the relevant departments, the Administration's reply to the three parts of the question is as follows.

(1) and (2) The frontier closed area (FCA) restriction helps combat illegal immigration and other cross-boundary criminal activities. According to the laws of Hong Kong, any person who enters a FCA must hold a closed area permit (CAP) issued by the Police. The Police will only issue CAPs to those who live in the FCA or have a genuine need to enter the area.  According to the existing policy, tourists are not eligible for CAPs.

     The Yan Chau Tong Marine Park is not part of the FCA.  Members of the public may hire boats to visit the park. They may also visit Lai Chi Wo and the tourist spots nearby via the hiking trails at Wu Kau Tang.

     The Sha Tau Kok Pier is located within the Sha Tau Kok Town which is part of the FCA. The Administration is reducing the coverage of the FCA by phase. The areas that have already been excised from the FCA include parts of Sha Tau Kok. The Sha Tau Kok Town, however, is kept within the FCA because of its physical setting. There is no physical barrier along the Hong Kong- Mainland boundary to separate the Sha Tau Kok Town from the Mainland. Moreover, Chung Ying Street in the Sha Tau Kok Town is the only place in Hong Kong where there is no boundary control facility but movement of people and goods across the boundary is allowed. Therefore, from the border security perspective, there is a need to maintain the FCA restriction for the Sha Tau Kok Town.  

     As regards proposals for partial relaxation of the FCA restriction for the Sha Tau Kok Town to facilitate tourism, such as allowing tourist groups to use the Sha Tau Kok Pier under certain conditions, careful consideration is necessary, including whether the proposals and their implementation arrangements comply with the laws and meet the border security requirements.

(3) The Tourism Commission (TC), established under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, is tasked with formulating tourism policy, handling and co-ordinating policy matters on tourism with government departments and other organisations, enhancing Hong Kong's tourism facilities, and supporting the development of new attractions, etc.

     The establishment of the Hong Kong Global Geopark of China (Geopark) aims at pursuing the objectives of conservation, education and sustainable development in both the geo-areas and the neighourhood areas. Therefore, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is responsible for the management and operation of the Geopark, which is under the policy area of the Environment Bureau.

     The Geopark is one of the Government's major focuses of promotion for green tourism. In promoting the Geopark, we also take into account the importance of conservation. The TC is partnering with relevant Government departments (including the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department), the travel trade, other event organisers and the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) to promote the Geopark and other green attractions of Hong Kong, including the Double Haven Geo Area, to visitors and the overseas travel trade through the HKTB's "Great Outdoors Hong Kong!" marketing platform. The HKTB also promotes relevant guided tours organised by the local travel trade, including those featuring the Yan Chau Tong Marine Park.

Ends/Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:10


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