POLICE on Lantau have implemented a stringent safety plan for the inauguration ceremony of the world's biggest outdoor Buddha on Wednesday. They don't want a repetition of the Lan Kwai Fong nightclub tragedy last New Year's Eve when 21 people died. Identical plans will come into operation on New Year's Day and January 2 if there is a huge turnout at the Po Lin monastery. Crowds of up to 40,000 people are expected to attend the unveiling, putting a huge strain on the island's limited infrastructure. Fleets of buses are being shipped to Mui Wo. Extra medical staff will be on duty at Lantau's two clinics in Mui Wo and Tai O, and Government Flying Service helicopters will be on standby to speed anyone injured to hospital. It is estimated it will take three hours to get to the monastery from Central, not including several hours during which people will have to queue and the duration of the ceremony itself. Islands District Police Commander Morgan Majurey said: ''It will be very cold, and because of the religious nature of the event, we expect many of those who attend will be old. ''We strongly advise people to bring food, drink and warm clothing. Extra toilet facilities have been installed. ''Because of the presence of the elderly and infirm and the fact that it is a religious occasion, we would advise everyone to be patient and peaceful.'' The event, which is being televised live by TVB, starts at 9 am and ends at 11 am. People who want to be there should catch the 6 am ferry at the latest. A ferry service will run hourly from 1 am until 6 am from Central to Mui Wo. If necessary, Hong Kong Ferry staff will increase the frequency to two journeys an hour. Normal services will resume at 6 am until 5 pm when three ferries an hour will be scheduled. Once in Mui Wo, police will direct the crowds to the bus embarkation point. More than 150 buses will be operating night and day. Police estimate they will be handling crowds of up to 4,000 people an hour. Governor Chris Patten will be taken to the island by helicopter and then driven to the site. Crowd control measures will also be in place at Po Lin. First aid centres will be established and police will man a series of control and observation posts. Mr Majurey said the most critical period would be after 1.30 pm when the public would be allowed to climb the steps to the Buddha. The gates to the steps will close at 5 pm. ''The problem will be on the steps. If someone falls, it will have a domino effect on the people behind them. We will ensure people go up in batches,'' he said. ''If it is dangerous to keep the steps open, we will close them. We don't anticipate any problems during the ceremony itself because people will be standing still. About 250 officers will be on duty to ensure the event proceeds smoothly.'' A nearby car park has been earmarked as a disaster treatment area in the event of a tragedy. The monastery's master, Chi Wai, has invited 30,000 VIPs, guests and Buddhist leaders from 35 countries. He estimated an additional 20,000 members of the public would also attend.