New border crossing awaits opening date

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2007, 12:00am

The opening date for the new cross-border checkpoint at Lok Ma Chau remains unconfirmed despite the Shenzhen side saying its facilities are close to completion.

'The hardware is all completed,' said legislator Cheung Hok-ming of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, who visited the new three-storey immigration complex at Futian, Shenzhen, yesterday.

The complex will house 80 counters, including 20 e-channels on both the departure and arrival floors. They were now undergoing testing, Mr Cheung said.

But he said he was not told when the new border crossing would be in use.

'I have not heard of an exact date. It will [depend] upon discussions by the Hong Kong and Shenzhen governments,' Mr Cheung said. 'I would suggest the sooner the better, as everything is now well prepared.'

A spokeswoman for the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau said the KCR's Lok Ma Chau spur line, linking Sheung Shui and Lok Ma Chau, was scheduled to begin services in mid-year.

She said both governments were still working on details of the new checkpoint's opening.

The 7.4km-spur line, with a connection to Shenzhen Metro Line 4, is designed to serve people travelling between Hong Kong and areas in western Shenzhen, including Futian, Nanshan and Baoan, where many Hong Kong people live.

It will be the second cross-border rail link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

However, Mr Cheung was worried that passengers may be stranded at the new checkpoint.

Apart from the Shenzhen Metro and taxis, there are no other means of transport that could cope with large numbers of passengers, he said.

The road network near Futian still needed improving, the legislator added.

Mr Cheung suggested setting up a public transport interchange on an empty site next to the immigration complex to help tackle any congestion.