Police are still in the dark about protesters' plans for the World Trade Organisation's ministerial conference in Hong Kong, but WTO chief Supachai Panitchpakdi has offered advice. He said: 'You can't just use authority to keep people away from the meeting.' However, Commissioner of Police Dick Lee Ming-kwai says they are fully prepared to handle any situation. 'We still have not officially received any application for protest from any group,' he said. It was unclear how many people would protest, he said. Some 8,000 South Korean farmers are among the demonstrators expected to confront trade ministers at December's gathering. Large demonstrations have marred previous ministerial conferences, like that in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003, where a South Korean protester committed suicide, and Seattle in 1999, when about 600 people were arrested. Although anti-globalisation activists are expected to descend on Hong Kong for the meeting, Dr Supachai said the trend for mass anti-WTO protests 'is on the decline'. Hong Kong would not suffer the same pitfalls as the Cancun meeting because there was no one burning issue on the agenda in December that would act as a lightning rod for protests, he told the Pacific Basin Economic Council meeting yesterday. The Hong Kong meeting is expected to see progress in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, services, development and trade rules. Hong Kong's point man for the meeting, Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology John Tsang Chun-wah, said he did not foresee any other issues cropping up that might derail negotiations. 'Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Everyone has different interests in different areas. At the end of the day, we need to strike a balance but we need to make progress on all fronts. Obviously, our priority lies in services. About 90 per cent of our [gross domestic product] is in services and that must be our priority.'