'Games security the biggest challenge ever'

Updated: 2008-07-16 07:21

By Louise Ho(HK Edition)

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The police will deploy up to 4,000 officers to maintain order at the Olympic equestrian events, a challenge that they said is the biggest ever.

Hong Kong police would be responsible for security during the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events from August 8 to September 14.

"The equestrian events are an unprecedented challenge to the police as we will have to deploy a large number of police officers for 55 straight days," said Suen Kai-leung, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations).

During the events, he said police would deploy 2,000 to 4,000 officers, depending on the competition schedule.

Police would start closing down and enforcing security measures at Penfold Park today, followed by Beas Riveron Sunday.

Suen stressed that law and order in the rest of Hong Kong will not be affected by the deployment.

Police will also adopt internal measures to cope with the special needs during that period.

"We have imposed leave restrictions from August 1 to 24. We will also suspend training activities that are not directly related to the operations," he said.

As for the division of duties, he said the police would be responsible for the overall security during the events, while security at the competition venues will be the job of security guards hired by the Equestrian Company.

"However, the police can intervene if there was a crime, or if public security was threatened at the venues," he noted.

He reiterated current threat assessment for the equestrian events remained at the medium level.

"Hong Kong police will continue to communicate closely with mainland and overseas police forces to update threat assessment if necessary," he said. "We will not rule out the possibility of changing the security level before the Olympics."

Police are planning to designate protest areas at the competition venues but a final plan has yet to be reached.

So far, police have not received any protest notification.

For celebratory events in different districts, he assured that the police have collected relevant information from organizers and various government departments, such as the nature of the events and the number of participants, and frontline officers have made crowd and traffic control plans accordingly.

(HK Edition 07/16/2008 page1)