LCQ14: Security arrangements for the Tsing Ma Control Area and Tsing Sha Control Area
It has been reported that rooftopping has become increasingly popular in overseas countries in recent years, and that last month, five youngsters who were enthusiastic about such activities made a free climb without any safety equipment to the top of the main cables on the Tsing Ma Bridge, which had an altitude exceeding 200 metres, to take photos. The incident has aroused public concern over whether there are loopholes in the security arrangements for the Tsing Ma Control Area and Tsing Sha Control Area. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the number of persons prosecuted in the past five years for entering without approval or permission the zones within the two aforesaid Control Areas that the public are prohibited to enter (prohibited zones); and among them, (i) the number of persons convicted as well as the penalties imposed on them, and (ii) the number of persons not prosecuted as well as the reasons why they were not prosecuted;
(2) of the standards stipulated by the authorities in respect of the security measures and installations for the two Control Areas; those security measures or installations for the two Control Areas which fail to meet the standards at present;
(3) whether the authorities have reviewed if the existing security measures and installations for the two Control Areas are sufficient to prevent persons without approval or permission from entering the prohibited zones; if they have reviewed, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(4) whether the authorities will (i) step up patrols of the prohibited zones, so as to prevent entry by persons without approval or permission, and (ii) increase the penalty for the relevant offences to enhance the deterrent effect; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
My reply to the various parts of the Hon Wong Ting-kwong's question is as follows.
(1) In the past five years, the two operators of the Tsing Ma Control Area and Tsing Sha Control Area (the two Control Areas) spotted a total of five cases (Note), involving 12 people, of trespassing into the facilities of the two Control Areas, including towers, cables and tunnel tubes. The two operators have reported the cases to the Hong Kong Police Force (the Police), the details of which are provided below:
|Date||Location||Number of persons involved||Follow-up action|
|June 7, 2014||Tsing Sha Control Area||2||The persons involved were illegal immigrants. One of them was handed over by the Police to the Immigration Department for deportation. The other was convicted of a breach of deportation order.|
|October 9, 2016||Tsing Ma Control Area||2||The Government is examining the facts of the cases and will seek legal advice before considering whether to institute prosecution against the persons involved.|
|December 31, 2016||Tsing Ma Control Area||2|
|January 2, 2017||Tsing Ma Control Area||5|
|January 12, 2017||Tsing Sha Control Area||1||The person involved was an illegal immigrant and was handed over by the Police to the Immigration Department for deportation.|
(2) and (3) The Government has been maintaining a close watch on the security of the facilities at the two Control Areas. At present, closed circuit television (CCTV) systems are installed at various locations of the two Control Areas for round-the-clock surveillance. Locked gates or fences are also installed to prevent the public from trespassing.
The Police, the Highways Department, the Transport Department (TD) and the two operators review and, where necessary, strengthen the security arrangements for the two Control Areas from time to time. For the Tsing Ma Control Area, the Government has erected high-security fences at Tsing Yi Tower and Ma Wan Anchorage of Tsing Ma Bridge in February 2013 and November 2016 respectively. High-security fences will later be erected at other strategic locations of the Tsing Ma Control Area. Besides, at six major points accessing the main cables of Tsing Ma Bridge (i.e. at Tsing Yi Anchorage and Ma Wan Anchorage and at mid-span of the bridge), CCTV systems equipped with movement detectors and alarms are now being installed, with expected completion in February 2017. Regarding security enhancement works of the Tsing Sha Control Area, relevant departments are working with the operator concerned to draw up work plans and will implement them in phases.
In addition, the Government requires the two operators to conduct thorough inspection of all security fences from time to time and repair any defective parts.
(4) In view of the recent cases, the Police, TD and the two operators have already examined ways to further enhance the existing communication and action mechanism in order to facilitate more effective handling of cases of trespassing into the facilities of the two Control Areas. The two operators will continue to closely monitor the strategic locations and step up patrols. They will, pursuant to the Tsing Ma Control Area Ordinance (Cap. 498) and Tsing Sha Control Area Ordinance (Cap. 594), require any person who enters or attempts to enter the facilities of the Control Areas without authorisation to give his/her name and address and pass such information to the Police for appropriate follow-up action. Where necessary, the operators will immediately report the case to the Police for assistance and action as appropriate.
According to the legislation governing the two Control Areas, other than for compliance with a prescribed traffic sign, prescribed light signal or prescribed road marking, or with a direction or signal of a police officer or an authorised officer, a person shall not enter the Control Areas or tunnel areas on foot. Moreover, a person shall not enter or remain in any building or other facility without permission. Any person who contravenes the regulations concerned is liable to a fine of $5,000 and to imprisonment for 6 months. We consider that the existing legislation already carries sufficient deterrent effect and have no plans to make amendments at this stage.
Note: There were other cases reported by the media or circulated on the Internet. For example, there were media reports at end-March 2015 that two youngsters took photos of themselves on the top of Stonecutters Bridge. There were also media reports at end-September 2016 that some foreigners, without obtaining permission, climbed to the top of Tsing Ma Bridge to take photos of themselves. As there was no concrete information on the exact time of occurrence and the persons involved in respect of these cases, the two operators and the Police did not have sufficient evidence to take further action. Such cases are therefore not included.
Ends/Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:45
Issued at HKT 15:45