A senior prison official yesterday rejected legislators' fears of possible riots at a planned prison district near the border. A scaled-down plan, under which what was initially intended as a 'superjail' will instead be a mid-sized prison complex, failed to satisfy some members of the Legco security panel. Under the revised proposal, the complex would be built on a 76-hectare site at Kong Nga Po near the border. It would provide 7,220 places by 2013 at a cost of $16 billion. The original plan envisaged housing 15,000 inmates in a 120-hectare jail costing $28 billion. At yesterday's meeting, Lau Kong-wah, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said New York officials had described the SAR's plan as 'unbelievable and mad' when he visited a similar prison complex on New York's Rikers Island last year. 'They only keep milder offenders there. And we are talking about keeping various kinds of serious offenders in one place. Can we control it if there is a riot with over 7,000 inmates?' he said. Deputy Commissioner of Correctional Services Pang Sung-yuen said he was confident his men were adequately trained to stop any possible trouble. 'We are professionals. We also visited Rikers Island. But we saw it from a professional point of view, which is very different from Mr Lau's views,' Mr Pang said. Democrat Cheung Man-kwong said the $16 billion cost was unacceptable in view of the forecast budget deficit of more than $60 billion. 'Prisons are not hotels. It is acceptable if they are a bit old,' said Mr Cheung, who said existing prisons should be maintained in the short term.