Some area within the Legislative Council building is alleged to have been turned into a facility that can house scores of police officers if there is any security contingency as lawmakers prepare to vote on the government’s controversial political reform bill this week.
It is believed that the “secret base”, located in a staff passage, will be able to accommodate as many as 500 police personnel if required, Apple Daily reported.
As authorities gear up for possible protests amid the Legco vote on Wednesday, they have taken emergency measures to meet the needs of additional security forces that might be brought in, according to the report.
Drinking water and other supplies are said to have been stocked up, along with things such as microwave ovens for heating up food.
Legco’s Administration Wing declined to comment on the preparations, citing security reasons, the paper said.
The police also said that they will not disclose details of their operations, but stressed that they are in close communication with the Legco and that they will provide the necessary and appropriate assistance when required.
Apple Daily cited sources as saying that the passageway, which is mainly used by cleaners and delivery people on a daily basis, can provide access to other parts of the government headquarters and even the office of the chief executive, if a person has the permit.
Hundreds of chairs have been delivered to the secret base, and fans have also been put in place to ensure better air circulation as there are no air-conditioners within the passage, the sources said.
Some civil servants working at the government headquarters said deployment of a large number of police officers could increase, rather then diminish, the chances of conflicts with protesters.
Lawmakers Emily Lau and Kenneth Chan said they have some concerns about the police arrangements and that they would urge authorities to offer an explanation at a Legco meeting on Monday.
The security work of the Legco should not be solely handled by the police, as it could hurt the constitutional independence of the legislature, Chan said.
Meanwhile, the police have set up over 50 new aluminum barricades near two entrances to the Legco building on Lung Wo Road and Tim Mei Avenue.
The new barricades are over 1.1 meters in height and come along with elevated platforms on one side to help the police in their observation duties.
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