Shenzhen police conducted anti-riot drills at the Bao’an Stadium in the past two days as part of preparations for Thursday’s football World Cup qualifier game between Hong Kong and China.
The move came as fans of the two teams have been exchanging sharp words online ahead of the much-anticipated event, Apple Daily reported.
Mainland supporters who were unhappy with Hong Kong match goers have urged their compatriots to go to Shenzhen to “beat the Hong Kong dogs”.
Mainlanders had expressed outrage at Hong Kong fans after some people booed the Chinese national anthem during a previous World Cup qualifier game earlier this year.
Following the online calls by mainland supporters, some Hong Kong fans have taunted mainland people that they are too vulnerable psychologically.
Amid the online chatter and trading of barbs and insults, Shenzhen police decided to tighten the security measures for the upcoming game.
Various steps, including verifying the identity documents of each and every ticket holder, are being implemented.
As the football match will take place on the same day as China holds a large-scale military parade in Beijing, authorities doubly want to make sure that there are no untoward incidents during the match.
If anything goes wrong, local officials in Shenzhen will have to shoulder the blame.
At least a thousand public security police and armed police officers have been deployed to separate the fans of the two teams.
Each person entering the stadium will have to go through identity verification and security check. People will be barred from carrying too many fruits or water bottles, while items such as eggs and flying discs won’t be allowed.
A total of 2,000 Hong Kong fans will be going to the match that will be held late Thursday. Some fans are worried that they might be denied access by police officers in Shenzhen.
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