Massive holiday crowds forecast

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 March, 1994, 12:00am

MORE than two million people will pass through the Lowu checkpoint during the Easter and Ching Ming holidays, says the Immigration Department.

Extra staff will be on duty at the customs point to avoid congestion and accidents in the arrival and departure halls as the estimated 2.4 million people pass through.

The average number of people using the checkpoint would normally increase by 10 per cent at this time of year, said Senior Principal Immigration Officer Henry Siu Chung-kit.

But as the traditional Ching Ming mourning festival is merged with Easter, he is expecting crowds could be as high as the record 142,000 for one day during the Chung Yeung festival last October.

''From last Sunday to April 10 we are expecting around 95,000 to 100,000 passengers daily. We believe the figure could reach as high as 140,000 towards the holidays' end as people rush back home to get back to work.'' Mr Siu said because of the extra workload, the extra staff would be brought in to quicken processing and ease congestion.

''We have an additional 68 staff working during this time to avoid problems and inconvenience but we must also appeal to travellers to travel during non-peak periods, like the evenings.

''Mornings will be terribly busy but we aim to keep travellers from having to wait any longer than 30 minutes to pass through.'' Mr Siu said the department would increase full-time staff at Lowu by the end of the financial year.

He said peak periods would begin this evening for the Easter holidays and would continue until next Wednesday after the Ching Ming festival.