Pro-democracy legislators remained unconvinced yesterday that Hong Kong should host the 2006 Asian Games, despite government promises of 'huge social and cultural benefits'. They were speaking after the release of a consultancy report on the costs of hosting the Games. The report, by KPMG Consulting, estimated a loss to taxpayers of $945 million. Democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo questioned whether the Government had been too optimistic in its profit-and-loss assessments. Referring to the estimated revenue of $100 million from selling tickets, Mr Cheng said: 'I can imagine either the tickets are priced very high or we are expecting many local spectators, which I doubt very much. I am a bit worried the revenue target cannot be achieved.' Mr Cheng said the $945 million deficit was acceptable if the Government had a clear, long-term policy to promote sport. 'We hope the Government is not going to waste so much money just for the Asian Games. There should be a long-term sports policy to follow up or else we are wasting taxpayers' money,' he added. Cyd Ho Sau-lan, of The Frontier, was also sceptical about the Government's projections. 'The Tung administration is notorious for playing with figures,' she said. 'We were told of an estimated influx of 1.67 million people and a deficit of some $36.5 billion. I am not quite sure how accurate the estimates this time are,' she said, referring to the controversial estimates of an influx of mainlanders after the right of abode ruling last year and the Financial Secretary's deficit estimates. She also accused the Government of trying to rush through the financial assessments in the legislature by releasing the report late, depriving legislators of time to fully study it. Hong Kong is expected to submit its full bid documents by the end of next month. The KPMG report estimates a net deficit of $730.5 million for hosting the Asian Games at 2006 prices. And hosting the Far East and South Pacific Games (Fespic) for the disabled would cost a further $214.5 million, pushing the total cost to $945 million. In a separate assessment by the government economist, which is based on the cost and revenue estimates provided by KPMG, the economic benefits are put at $862 million in 2000 prices. Choy So-yuk, of the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance, said the Games would be a good deal. 'There would be some invisible returns and social benefits. More tourists will come to Hong Kong and the event might also arouse young people's interests in sports, which might indirectly reduce the youth crime rate,' said Ms Choy, also the Legco home affairs panel chairwoman. Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, the prime mover behind the campaign to host the Games, declined to comment last night. In a document to be discussed at today's home affairs panel meeting, the Home Affairs Bureau said it 'believed that the likely social and cultural benefits represent a huge return on the community's investment'.