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Manchester concert attack

Hong Kong’s biggest concert venue steps up security in wake of Manchester terror attack

AsiaWorld-Expo, which is due to host US singer Ariana Grande in September, says it will begin using metal detectors to screen concertgoers at upcoming events

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2017, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2017, 4:34pm

Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo has said it will step up security measures for its coming concerts in the wake of Monday night’s terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, ahead of a scheduled performance from the US singer later this year.

In a statement following the incident that left at least 22 dead and more than 50 injured at the Manchester Arena following a performance from Grande, the Hong Kong venue said it will begin using metal detectors to screen for potential threats, in addition to its usual baggage inspections.

It also said it would consider using search dogs for any suspicious items or requiring visitors to wear security straps to track them while in the venue.

A spokesman for the AsiaWorld-Expo said the “tracking strap” could also help the management control crowds and monitor the flow of people and allow for a quick response in case of an emergency.

Meanwhile, tickets still appear to be on sale for Grande’s planned concert in Hong Kong at the AsiaWorld-Expo on September 21.

A spokeswoman for concert organiser Live Nation said that it did not know whether the planned concert would be affected in wake of the attack.

Deadly concert attack latest in string of terror strikes on British soil in recent years

“We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy and our hearts and thoughts are with those impacted by this devastating incident,” said the spokeswoman.

A police source said the force would keep a close eye on developments and see if it was necessary to step up security around the convention facilities.

“It still remains unknown if the attacker in Manchester targeted the American singer herself or the UK. We will stay alert on the situation and evaluate the security risk from time to time,” the force insider said.

The next concert to be held at the venue will be Kim Tae-yeon’s concert on June 10 and 11. She is the lead vocalist of the Korean girl group Girls’ Generation. AsiaWorld-Expo confirmed the enhanced security measures, including the tracking strap, would be in place for the gig.

Hong Kong is already on high alert ahead of an expected visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to mark the 20th anniversary of the handover on July 1. Counter terrorism officers were out in force during the recent visits of leaders from the Philippines, Pakistan, and Indonesia.

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Meanwhile, the Immigration Department said it had not received reports from Hong Kong travellers seeking assistance because of the attack. The Hong Kong Travel Industry Council also said there were no Hong Kong travel tour groups attending the concert.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying expressed sympathy for victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester.

Speaking ahead of the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Leung said although Hong Kong is a safe city, the government must stay vigilant against possible threats to public safety.

He urged the community to support the police and other government departments in their work to protect lives and property.