POLITICS

Security tight ahead of Leung Chun-ying's Kwun Tong town hall meet

District councillors urge chief executive to heed calls for medical services, housing at town hall meeting today, as police prepare for protests

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 3:56am
 

Government officials should listen to Kwun Tong residents' calls for more medical services and public housing at today's town-hall meeting there, two district councillors said yesterday.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, health minister Dr Ko Wing-man and environment minister Wong Kam-sing will address about 280 residents at Kwun Tong Kung Lok Government Secondary School this afternoon.

People intending to stage protests outside the venue fear there could be chaos, and police have stepped up security and surveillance inside and outside the school, readying more than 200 crowd-control barriers and rolls of wire netting.

Last night several dozen people had already begun queuing outside the school for tickets to attend the forum. Banners in support of Leung had also been hung around the venue.

Kwun Tong district councillor Fung Kam-yuen said that instead of focusing on politics, Leung should pay attention to housing problems in the district, including the delayed completion of the Kai Ching public estate.

"The housing authority said only that it needs to look into the matter and make arrangements … but families want to move in as soon as possible," Fung said.

The residential project at Kai Tak has been delayed because of the weather, affecting about 5,000 families allocated flats on the estate.

Some families could not move in, while some others that had moved in were unhappy because the shopping mall, the playground and some walkways were still not open.

On health issues, Fung was concerned about Ko's revelation in June that a public hospital could be built at Kai Tak to answer a long-standing complaint from Kwun Tong residents that the densely populated district lacks adequate medical facilities close by.

Fung hoped Ko could make sure that the hospital would be built soon.

Fung's colleague, district councillor Jack Cheung Ki-tang, also said there should be more clinics in the district.

District councillors will need a ticket to get into today's meeting, but Fung and Cheung expect their concerns to be raised by colleagues or local residents.

Last Sunday, scuffles between pro-government and pan-democratic groups broke out when Leung was holding a meeting with Tin Shui Wai residents.

Ko said: "I am calling upon the people to express their opinion in a peaceful and rational way, and take good care of their personal safety."

Ko's predecessor, Dr York Chow Yat-ngok, who chairs the Equal Opportunities Commission, also called for Hongkongers to stay calm and respect others. He said he was worried about divisions in the city.

"We have always hoped that Hong Kong [remains] a free and peaceful place. And freedom means that while we can allow different voices and expressions, we have to respect others at the same time. No matter what topic you are debating about - whether it is a big issue like universal suffrage, or livelihood issues - we must keep it a peaceful and rational discussion."

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