The sleepy Scottish backwater of Auchterarder is a world away from Hong Kong. Nestled in the Perthshire countryside, air pollution is unheard of, the tallest building in town is a modest church and even the local Chinese takeaway owes more to Scotland than Sheung Wan, with fish and chips high up on the menu. But like Hong Kong, it is about to be thrust into the limelight by a gathering of world leaders. The G8 circus coming to town next month promised a little excitement for the locals and a lot of cash for businesses lining the main street, thanks to Auchterarder's proximity to the summit venue, the Gleneagles Hotel. All that changed last week when aid activist Sir Bob Geldof sent out his call to protesters from around the globe to converge on Scotland and pressure the leaders of the eight richest nations to do more to alleviate suffering among the world's poor. Sir Bob, hard on the heels of announcing a series of 'Live 8' concerts to be held around the world on July 2, urged a million anti-poverty demonstrators to join a 'long walk to justice' to Edinburgh, the nearest major city to Gleneagles, in time for the July 6 start of the summit. 'If we can turn up the heat on Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, the US, Britain and Russia, just possibly we can reach down the ladder and say [to the poorer nations], 'Come on, we'll give you a hand up',' Sir Bob said. With a rallying cry of 'Get your boat ready, you're going to France, dude!' the former pop star urged British yachtsmen to sail to the French coast to collect protesters in a flotilla reminiscent of the wartime evacuation of Dunkirk. The sting in the tail for Auchterarder's 4,000 unsuspecting residents is that an estimated 80,000 of those protesters are expected to attempt to gatecrash the main event taking place on their doorstep. Flyers have been distributed at British universities offering travel advice to student protesters planning to descend on Gleneagles. The Auchterarder community hall has been kept busy with meetings between police liaison officers and the increasingly nervous townspeople. The already elaborate security measures undertaken by Scottish police to counter terrorist threats and disruption by protesters have been stepped up in light of Sir Bob's intervention. While Hong Kong's preparations for the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference on December 13 will draw heavily on intelligence gathering to prevent known troublemakers congregating in the city, Scotland's porous borders have prompted a more tangible, hands-on approach to security. The estimated #50 million ($705 million) operation includes no-fly zones imposed during the July 6-8 summit, the deployment of 10,000 police officers from around Britain including horse-mounted units, extensive CCTV monitoring and a ring of steel thrown up around the sprawling Gleneagles Hotel and its famous golf courses in the form of a 2-metre high, 8km mesh fence. The cost - not least the #1 million portion of it for the temporary ring-fencing regarded by many as an environmental blot on the rural landscape - has drawn criticism from Scottish taxpayers. Chief Constable Willie Bald of Tayside Police, the force overseeing security for the summit, said that the fence, while presenting no long-term threat to the environment, would clearly define the areas deemed off-limits to the public. 'It clearly outlines the secure boundary lines which will be policed and where powers of arrest can be used if anyone attempts to get through,' Chief Constable Bald said. Despite the practical differences in handling the G8 and WTO meetings, Hong Kong police will be looking closely for lessons to be learned and security intelligence to be gleaned from the Gleneagles gathering. Speaking on a visit to Hong Kong in March, Interpol secretary-general Ronald Noble promised the city would have the international law enforcement agency's full co-operation in safeguarding the WTO summit. 'We will make sure Interpol shares with the Hong Kong police all intelligence we might have about those people who have historically tried to target, disrupt and threaten events which could have been held in a peaceful way,' Mr Noble said. 'If Hong Kong asks us for name checks, phone number checks and fingerprint checks, we will give them priority.' A spokesman for Tayside Police told the Sunday Morning Post the force was confident that protesters planning to disrupt the G8 summit would be thwarted by Gleneagles' location and layout. Road and rail access to Auchterarder, 70km north of Edinburgh, would be strictly controlled and access to the hotel, on the outskirts of the town, would be restricted. 'There is no history of serious public disorder in Scotland,' the spokesman said. 'We have an excellent record of crowd control and there is no reason to think this will be any different.' But concerns remain about a repeat of the violence seen at other G8 meetings. Banks in Edinburgh have advised staff not to wear uniforms during the demonstrations to avoid attracting the unwanted attention of anti-capitalist activists, Starbucks has reportedly arranged for its own security personnel to fly in from the United States and Queen Elizabeth has cancelled her annual visit to the royal summer residence in the city's Old Town. Sir Bob points out that the Scottish capital comfortably accommodates large numbers of visitors to the Edinburgh Festival each year and a million demonstrators should be no different. 'Edinburgh gets this figure every year at the festival,' he said. 'It is a hugely sophisticated city that is able to take large amounts of people.' Such assurances count for little with Auchterarder councillor Colin Young. He said the town's 4,000 residents feared they would be swamped by protesters and were worried that any property damage would not be covered by standard insurance policies. 'It is estimated that the area could handle no more than 3,500 protesters, so the idea that it could absorb 80,000 people is off the wall,' Mr Young said. 'The people in the town were perfectly happy to welcome the G8 summit to Gleneagles until an application was made for a protest march. Businesses have now indicated that they intend closing up for a week and some residents have decided to go away.'