Spotlight on safety for music-fest

POLICE and organisers of this month's Bon Jovi concert and music-fest have vowed to do all they can to prevent a repeat of the sort of tragedy that left 21 dead at Lan Kwai Fong on New Year's Eve.

Around 8,000 people are expected to crowd the Ocean Park car park for the all-day music-fest on September 25.

The promoter, Midas Promotions, described planned security measures as extraordinary and gave a guarantee against any major problems at the event, featuring heart-throb rock 'n' roller Jon Bon Jovi and his band.

More than 120 security staff and around 50 police will be deployed at the venue to control the crowd.

Beer will be available at the music-fest, which will last from 3 pm until about midnight.

''We will do everything to make sure there will be no repeat of Lan Kwai Fong,'' a spokesperson for Ocean Park management said yesterday.

Police confirmed that, in planning security for the event, they had taken into consideration the recommendations of the Bokhary inquiry into the Lan Kwai Fong tragedy.

All 21 who died in the Central bar and club area were crushed to death in a crowd of about 20,000 New Year's Eve revellers.

''That [Lan Kwai Fong] is in the back of our minds and we are very anxious not to have anything like that happen again,'' Assistant Divisional Commander for Aberdeen Chief Inspector John Carter said.

Midas director Dale Rennie said the Ocean Park car park would be partitioned with metal barriers into four areas, each capable of holding a maximum of about 2,000 people only.

Each of the four areas will have discrete, clearly marked entry and exit points to minimise confusion in case of a crowd surge. A large ''run-off'' area will also be provided to enable the crowd to disperse quickly and safely.

Security staff will be on hand to check identity cards at the entrance to the beer garden to ensure no minors are served alcohol.

Police and security staff will be deployed on top of double-decker buses outside the concert area to look for signs of disturbances.

Mr Carter said one of the reasons for taking extra precautions for the music-fest was the fact that many expatriates, known to be bigger drinkers than local Chinese, were likely to attend.