Commissioner of Police Dick Lee Ming-kwai has responded to complaints about the detention of 40 mainland women in an open-air steel cage by saying every effort was made to ensure that people in custody were treated properly. The suspected prostitutes were among a group of 295 women arrested in an anti-vice operation in West Kowloon and thrown in the cage at Tsim Sha Tsui police station on Tuesday. Mr Lee said the women were temporarily held in the cage due to a lack of space inside the station and the lengthy time needed to process the detainees. 'Of course this is not an ideal arrangement. We are now considering whether there could be a better course of action when undertaking similar operations in the future,' he said. 'If the current incident has given people the impression that we are treating people inhumanely, I will sincerely apologise. 'We have done our best, but if we can do better, we will oblige.' Mr Lee said measures being studied included using space at other police stations for operations involving mass arrests, but this would only be feasible if there were sufficient officers there to process detainees. Legislator James To Kun-sun, chairman of Legco's security panel, urged the police to improve detention arrangements. But he disputed Mr Lee's suggestion that manpower factors should be taken into consideration. 'Manpower should not be a problem. Hong Kong has 20,000 duty officers and there are several thousand more who are off-duty. If a riot occurs, manpower could not be used as an excuse,' he said.