A SURVEY showing widespread concern over incursions by Chinese patrol boats into Hong Kong waters proves the territory's residents will not let themselves be pushed around in the run-up to 1997, legislators said yesterday. The survey, published yesterday in the South China Morning Post, found almost half of all respondents perceived a March 18 incursion by mainland authorities as a threat to security and stability, with well over half demanding a tougher government response. The incident saw two men, their tug and a lighter hijacked by forces operating from Zhuhai. The forces allegedly pointed sub-machineguns at Hong Kong Marine Police officers who tried to intervene near Sai Kung. The men were released almost a month later after much protest by the Government. The incursion was one of three reported this year. 'People are obviously worried that if the Chinese authorities can come in like that by sea, the next thing is they will come in by land,' said Legislative Council security panel member Emily Lau Wai-hing. 'People are concerned - they don't want to see Chinese security people in uniforms waving guns at our armed forces. 'There are certain things we need to assert. The people are obviously saying to the Government that if you are weak and timid, you invite interference.' The random telephone survey aimed at tracking economic and political trends was conducted by Survey Research Hong Kong between April 3 and 10. It was sponsored by the Post and Ming Pao. It found 61 per cent of the 1,008 people surveyed believed the Government should use force to prevent similar incidents. The view was quite consistent among different sub-groups. Twenty per cent of respondents said force should not be used, 12 per cent said they were not sure and seven did not know of the incident. Forty-five per cent of those surveyed - 42 per cent male and 49 per cent female - considered the incursion and abduction of a Hong Kong crew and their vessel to be a very serious occurrence and a threat to the territory's security and stability. Thirty per cent said it was not very serious while 18 per cent were not sure. Legislator Christine Loh Kung-wai, also a member of the Legco security panel, said: 'I don't think this shows that we are promoting force. What it shows is people think Hong Kong was in the right and the Hong Kong response could have been more robust. 'People won't accept Chinese security forces behaving like this.' Deputy Secretary for Security Ken Woodhouse did not return telephone messages left yesterday.