Prisons unit tries to lock in plans for HQ
With redevelopment looming for three landmark government towers in Wan Chai, the Correctional Services Department aims to relocate to new headquarters in Chai Wan within the next decade.
'We are the only one of the disciplined services without a headquarters building. We hope the government can support our plan,' said Chiu Chi-keung, junior section chairman of the Correctional Services Officers' Association, a union in the department.
The Town Planning Board has approved the department's application to rezone into government land a small empty lot, previously classified as open space, at the junction of Sheung Mau and Sheung Tat streets in Chai Wan. The next step is for the Architectural Services Department to conduct a feasibility study on building a 10-storey command post on the site, a source close to the matter says.
A department spokesman said it was looking for a suitable site.
The Correctional Services Department, which manages the city's prisons and rehabilitation centres, is also consulting the Eastern District Council on the plan.
The source said he hoped a building design would be ready and submitted to the legislature's financial committee for approval this year.
The department has been seeking a headquarters for more than four years. If the recent plan is approved, the structure could be ready in seven to eight years and could house more than 350 officers.
Currently, the department has its main offices on three floors of Wanchai Tower, and several supporting divisions are scattered across other buildings in Wan Chai and Chai Wan.
The source said the department needed an office that would support its officers' round-the-clock hours, compared with Wanchai Tower, which was meant for clerical staff with regular office hours.
The redevelopment will see Wanchai Tower, Immigration Tower and Revenue Tower vacated to make way for commercial office spaces. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said in 2008 that 26 government agencies in those buildings should move out of the business district to make way for grade-A office spaces.
Meanwhile, tendering is under way for the department to buy its first X-ray machine to detect drugs hidden inside prisoners' bodies. The first machine, to replace rectal inspection, could be ready for use at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre this year.
The number of prisoners, as of 2011, in prisons, rehab centres and psychiatric wards managed by the department