Fears over revellers' bottleneck

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 January, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 January, 1996, 12:00am

SENIOR police commanders said they were concerned about a bottleneck which occurred in Lan Kwai Fong on New Year's Eve, when 4,000 people were forced to queue outside the area.

More police may be needed this year, but officers noted the fine line that exists between ensuring safety and the potential for sparking 'provocation between officers and members of the public'.

Senior officers including the Central District Commander, Police Tactical Unit Officers and Traffic Police will review strategies and events of the night, described by police as a success.

But concern was expressed at a sudden build-up of people queuing behind barriers at the bottom of D'Aguilar Street just before midnight.

As police attempted to control the numbers going in, a queue of 4,000 people snaked up Wellington Street down Stanley Street and on to Queen's Road Central.

'Suddenly when it got to 11.45 pm, we couldn't let in any more. People were getting very impatient. That was a bit of a problem,' Central Divisional Commander Ian Tse Ho-yin said.

'People were shouting because they couldn't be let in. The crowd inside didn't leave. There were people outside shouting and some were getting very emotional,' he said.

Some of the 240 police officers used loudspeakers to explain the need to control numbers.

Mr Tse said that helped calm things. But many of the loudspeakers were drowned out by the noise of the estimated 22,000 people.

He speculated next year the number of officers near the top of D'Aguilar Street could be increased from 15 to 40.