Five-time Hong Kong Olympian Peter Rull wants shooting range to go public
Peter Rull says the HK Rifle Association's facility is crucial to the sport's survival in the city
A Hong Kong shooting legend is calling for a private shooting range to be made available for public use rather than being reclaimed by the government.
The Hong Kong Rifle Association has been operating at the Kau Wah Keng shooting range at a reservoir in Lai Chi Kok since 1964. But the government plans to take it back because the association is no longer a member of the Hong Kong Shooting Association, the sport's governing body.
The crisis stems from a financial dispute between the two associations dating back to 2006, when the rifle association allegedly stopped paying membership fees.
Peter Rull, 91, was the first shooting coach for the police force's Special Duties Unit in the 1970s, and represented Hong Kong in five Olympic Games from 1960. He was also one of the lands bailiffs working with the Lands Department that chose Kau Wah Keng for a shooting range in 1964.
Rull said he was unhappy that people who loved the sport of shooting would soon lose such a popular practice site, adding that the rifle association would likely fold because of the closure.
He and other association members have submitted a proposal to the government that the range be opened to the public.
"The range marked the rise of shooting as a sport in the city. It's very upsetting that it can no longer be used," Rull said.
"It will set the sport of shooting back years in Hong Kong. That is why we have asked the government to consider making it a public shooting range."
Without the Kau Wah Keng range, more than 600 members of the rifle association will not be able to renew their shooting licences. The police require all members of such clubs in Hong Kong to present an official shooting record for the previous 12 months before they can renew their licence.
A life member of the rifle association who preferred to remain anonymous said he felt this sounded the death knell for the sport in Hong Kong, unless the Kau Wah Keng range was opened to the public. He said the association had contacted the government, but negotiations were still at the early stage.
"The government said they will keep an open mind on our proposal for a public shooting range," the member said.
"But they have to look at their resources and the sustainability of the range."