INCREASED activity along the Pacific belt where the Earth's plates collide could lead to more tremors being felt in Hong Kong, the Royal Observatory said. The Japanese earthquake yesterday was another in a series that might be caused by increased activity along the belt, said Royal Observatory senior scientific officer Tam Cheuk-ming. Since October major earthquakes have included one in Indonesia, one in the Philippines, one near San Francisco and five in Japan, where seismologists have said they expect the big one at any time. Last year, Hong Kong felt three quakes compared with an average of one or two a year since records of locally felt quakes began in 1979. One on September 16 was the biggest in 78 years, registering 6.5 on the Richter scale. In 1993 there had been none, and the most was six in 1987. But Mr Tam stressed that the study of earthquakes was in its infancy and he could not be sure that the tremors in this region were connected to the belt. The belt passes through the Philippines to Taiwan - between 600 and 700 kilometres from Hong Kong - to Japan, Alaska and the west coast of the United States, he said.