Police are expecting relatively high security risks during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hong Kong on Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
Authorities will adopt stricter security measures than those deployed during the visit of Zhang Dejiang, the third-ranking state leader, last year, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
It was understood that a hotel has yet to be selected for Xi. All areas that Xi and his entourage will pass will be designated as mobile security zones.
Police officers were seen performing search operations near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), with the Confined Space Search Team also called into action to look out for any dangerous objects on construction sites or manholes nearby.
The police said it will not reveal the whereabouts of the core security zone for safety reasons and will make the necessary adjustments according to the safety risks.
There is no evidence that Xi will be the target of any terrorist acts but the police considered it necessary to heighten measures given the increasing number of incidents around the world in the past 12 months.
Police will set up security zones two hours before Xi arrives at a certain venue and the particular zone will be locked down 30 minutes before Xi’s arrival.
While several activities will be held at the HKCEC and the banquet at Grand Hyatt hotel, it remains to be decided whether Xi will stay at the Grand Hyatt or the Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View hotel, which is on the other side of the HKCEC.
Reporters have observed that water-filled barricades and steel barricades have been set up along Central Plaza, Fleming Road and Harbour Road in Wan Chai North.
More than a dozen workers were spotted gluing the pavement bricks outside the government headquarters building and the Legislative Council building on Tuesday night.
When asked if people wearing clothes with protesting slogans or carrying objects like a yellow umbrella, a symbol of the 2014 Occupy Central protests, will be asked to leave a security zone, Nelson Cheng Yiu-mo, Assistant Commissioner of Police Operations, said no one will be asked to leave as long as they do not protest inside the security zone.
Cheng also dismissed reports that the police have instructed officers to avoid any embarrassing slogans or banners being made visible to President Xi.
Police officials said they were notified of nine public events to be held in Wan Chai North as of Tuesday.
The Civil Aviation Department has been asked to implement a no-fly zone above Victoria Harbour between 9 a.m. on Thursday and 6 p.m. on Saturday.
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