About $3.6 million is to be given to 18 district boards to be spent on celebrations for China National Day, it was revealed yesterday.
Acting Secretary for Home Affairs Lee Lap-sun told the provisional legislature's Home Affairs Panel districts were also being encouraged to raise funds themselves. Shamshuipo district had raised up to $3 million.
Mr Lee said a new, taller flagpole would be erected in front of the Convention and Exhibition Centre extension so more people could watch the flag-raising ceremony at 8 am on October 1.
'We considered starting the ceremony at 6 am, the same time as the ceremony will be held at Beijing's Tiananmen Square. But to make it more convenient for the Hong Kong people and the media we have decided to change it to 8 am,' he said.
The venue had room for 2,000 people to attend the ceremony. In the afternoon, Tung Chee-hwa would host a banquet for an estimated 5,000 guests, said Mr Lee.
Democratic Party vice-chairman Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said party members would like to attend the banquet, if invited. 'We haven't yet received any invitations, but we were invited to the ceremony celebrating the establishment of the SAR,' he said.