Lawmaker slams government’s cagey response to his question on Zhang Dejiang’s security arrangements

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Kenneth Chan Ka-lok calls for clear “counter-terrorism” alert system guidelines to avoid traffic chaos during future state leader visits.

The Civic Party’s Kenneth Chan Ka-lok (陳家洛) has derided the government’s roundabout answer to a Legco question he posed yesterday on the impacts of traffic and manpower security arrangements during the recent visit of state leader Zhang Dejiang (張德江).

Chan had asked for statistics and other details on road and pedestrian passage closures, possible relaxations of traffic rules for Zhang’s motorcade, and the numbers, ranks, regions and duties of deployed police officers. Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok (黎棟國) responded that the measures were “appropriate and necessary”, dodging Chan’s question.

Calling Lai’s answer “laughable”, Chan stated that the administration should not abuse its power in the name of “counter-terrorism”.

“The government has no intention to reveal how people’s lives were affected during Zhang Dejiang’s visit and its underlying justifications. This highlights how absurd it was to exaggerate the threat of ‘terrorism’ to Hong Kong in order to save face and ensure that Zhang would not be embarrassed,” Chan’s statement read.

The lawmaker also called on the government to consult the public on formulating a “counter-terrorism alert response level” system with clear guidelines as to what security and traffic arrangements the public should expect for different alert levels. Currently, there is no such system in Hong Kong.

Commuters had expressed discontent over traffic disruptions caused by Zhang’s visit. On one occasion, the motorcade of the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress was spotted heading in the opposite direction of traffic and failing to stop in compliance with traffic light signals.