Governor 'hosts' 58,600 in gardens

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 March, 1997, 12:00am

About 58,600 people visited the Government House gardens yesterday, 10,000 more than Saturday's record.

Gates were opened 30 minutes earlier than the 10 am schedule as queues outside the east gate stretched as far as the Central Government Offices in Lower Albert Road.

'But the crowd was still building even after we opened, and reached as far as Duddell Street,' Government House spokesman Tse Cheung-hing said. 'About 26,000 people had visited by 2 pm, but 34,000 people were still queuing so police had to stop the queue there.' Mr Tse said about 9,000 people were inside the grounds at any one time.

The grounds will be opened again next Saturday but to wheelchair-users only.

Thirty elderly people who wanted to petition Government House for a rise in public assistance were forced to abort their plan because of the long queues.

The group, led by the Elderly Rights League, had to protest at Central Government Offices. They were unhappy that welfare spending would rise by only 9.4 per cent in real terms in 1997-98.

Spokesman Yung Wai-mui urged legislators to vote down the Budget unless welfare spending was increased.