A new restriction imposed on media coverage at the Central Government Offices has sparked heavy criticism from lawmakers and media groups, who say the measure will curb freedom of the press. Under the new arrangements, reporters have to first obtain a permit before being allowed to enter the offices, where they can only report from two designated areas - the main wing and the west wing. If there is no scheduled press activity, print media organisations can only send a maximum of four reporters to the offices, while broadcast media can send a maximum of six. A statement from the Information Services Department said the measure 'aims to ensure that reporting is conducted in a safe environment and has absolutely nothing to do with press freedom'. On Thursday, more than 100 reporters scrambled to get pictures and comments from former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung and outgoing Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Shuk-yee, whose resignations were announced on Wednesday. More than 10 security guards were at the scene to help with crowd control. Mrs Ip's driver was later seen with bleeding hands and a rear light on Mr Leung's vehicle was damaged. Despite the government's assurance that the move was not aimed at curbing press freedom, media groups in Hong Kong objected to it, saying it would affect the work of journalists. The Hong Kong Journalists' Association and the Hong Kong Press Photographers' Association have sent a joint letter to Director for Administration Wong Ho-yuen demanding the arrangements be scrapped. The Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing yesterday sent a letter of objection to Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.