Long-term need for tear-gas drill site

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 March, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 March, 1997, 12:00am

Two disciplinary forces yesterday said they wanted to continue using Castle Peak range for tear-gas drills after the PLA takes it over in July.

They said it was the only suitable range for such exercises.

While the police and correctional services officers have suspended drills at the site after their firing of tear-gas made people nearby unwell, they hope better safety measures can be worked out so they can use it again.

The British military will return the Castle Peak firing range to the Hong Kong Government in May, and the People's Liberation Army will take it over on July 1.

Both forces said it was still unclear whether they could borrow the range and to whom they should apply.

But they said they wanted to continue using the site.

Deputy Commandant of the Police Tactical Unit, Senior Superintendent Blake Hancock, said: 'It's not going to get any easier to find another site.' The unit only started using the range for tear-gas drills last year.

Before then, officers practised tear-gas firing at High Island, which Mr Hancock said was not an ideal location as it was too close to hikers and country park visitors.

The Correctional Services Department used the range for the first time in February when dozens of people fell ill after the tear-gas was fired.