Safety top priority for Sevens

PUBLIC safety will be the top priority for the Hongkong Sevens, police and organisers said yesterday.

Both sides have met to discuss crowd control and safety measures and security would be tightened, said the chief executive officer of the Hongkong Rugby Union, Mr David Roberts.

Mr Roberts said the union was concerned about taking every possible precaution against any accidents in light of the Lan Kwai Fong tragedy.

''Safety is obviously our top priority,'' Mr Roberts said.

The group is waiting for the final report from Mr Justice Bokhary's independent inquiry into the tragedy which claimed 21 lives before making any final arrangements.

Mr Roberts pointed out that deputations made during the inquiry had pointed to important differences between the Sevens and Lan Kwai Fong, mainly because the tournament was held in a stadium designed for crowd control.

Wan Chai police district chief commander Mr Dick Lee Ming-kwai said police and authorities would try to strike a balance when reviewing the liquor licence application for the tournament.

''It is an international event which brings a lot of attention to Hongkong, but it is also a matter of public safety that we have to look after,'' Mr Lee said.

He said a number of options would be studied for the Sevens including introducing a ban on underage drinking.