Shooting ranges in big demand

I REFER to the letter from V. R. Mason headlined ''Range flags just keep on flying'' (South China Morning Post, February 13).

The situation in the area of Wah Shan Hill has not changed since the correspondence on the subject in this newspaper last August.

The ranges, to which V. R. Mason refers, have continued to be very heavily used during the intervening months including some public holidays. This did not, include the Chinese New Year when the flags were lowered for a five-day period.

Shooting remains a vital skill for all members of Her Majesty's (HM) Forces and the ranges at San Wai and Tai Ling are the best available to us in Hongkong. The lack of access to any danger area is a regrettable necessity if public safety is to be maintained.

Nevertheless, we never ignore comments from members of the public and as promised a full and careful review was carried out as a result of last year's letter.

Unfortunately, with so much demand for ranges (not only from HM Forces but also from the Royal Hongkong Police and civilian shooting clubs) there really are very few days when the ranges are not in use. Nevertheless, we remain fully aware of the concern voiced and firing on the ranges will be kept to an absolute minimum so that access is never denied for any other reason than the safety of those we serve.

C.HAMMERBECK Brigadier Deputy Commander, British Forces