At least 5,000 police officers will be mobilized for the visit next week of Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported, citing unnamed persons with knowledge of the matter.
Police have refused to reveal the number of officers to be deployed for the senior Chinese official’s visit, but said a press briefing will be held on Sunday on the security arrangements.
The sources said the police’s Tactical Unit, VIP Protection Unit and Special Duties Unit will be on standby when the national leader arrives in Hong Kong on May 18.
The Search Unit will ensure that all of the places Zhang is set to visit, including the hotel where he would be staying and other speaking venues, will be secure. All people entering the restricted areas would have to undergo security check and identity verification.
The arrangements for the visit will also serve as a rehearsal for the security measures to be implemented during the 20th anniversary of the handover next year.
According to Apple Daily, the construction work for the Central-Wan Chai Bypass would have to be suspended during Zhang’s three-day visit.
The Chinese official will attend the “Belt and Road” summit on Wednesday morning at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center and meet with members of the Executive Council and the Legislative Council in the evening.
Zhang will also visit two places on Wednesday afternoon, including the Science Park in Sha Tin.
Meanwhile, the construction sites at the Wan Chai Bypass and the MTR’s Shatin to Central Link would be suspended for four days starting next Monday, at least three workers told Ming Pao Daily.
Both the Highways Department and MTR Corporation confirmed on Thursday night that they were asked by the police to halt operations at the construction sites near the HKCEC from next Monday to Thursday.
Many construction workers were displeased with the announcement, which means they would not get any wages during the period, while surveyors said the suspension of work would mean millions of dollars in losses for the affected contractors.
Legislator Claudia Mo, a member of the Legco panel on security, said the arrangements were unreasonable.
She said the work at the two construction sites should not be suspended unless there is reliable intelligence of any potential risks to Zhang and his entourage.
Mo criticized the government for disregarding the impact of the work suspension on the livelihood of the workers and the financial losses to the contractors.
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