Cultural Centre security guards disturbing their slumber Street sleepers who have been dossing down undisturbed outside the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui for years say security guards have suddenly started harassing them with loudspeakers and taking pictures. Social workers say the crackdown by the guards, working for a company contracted to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, apparently followed a magazine article about the 'comfortable life' led by the homeless in the area. The street sleepers say the guards have been shouting 'wake up' into loudspeakers held a metre from their ears. Society for Community Organisation (Soco) community organiser Ng Wai-tung said the department had told him loudspeakers would not be used in future but it could not be seen to be tolerating street sleeping in the area. A Mr Leung, who says he has been sleeping outside the performing arts venue for eight years, said he had been rudely awakened in a crackdown last month. 'There were about six security guards and they yelled into the loudspeakers 'wake up, wake up, wake up or I'll call the police',' Mr Leung said. 'They also threatened to use the loudspeakers to wake us every hour.' He said guards had been sneaking around taking pictures and a headcount at about 3am, when most were likely to be sound asleep. Mr Ng said he suspected the guards, working for a company called Professional Security Services, were getting tough after an article about street sleepers in Eastweek magazine. He said a representative from the company, whom he met with LCSD representatives yesterday, told him loudspeakers were used on the department's order. A Ms Law who works for Professional Security Services said the guards were 'merely following orders' but refused to comment further. Mr Ng said LCSD assistant director Agnes Tang In-kwan had told him the department was sorry the guards used loudspeakers but did not admit ordering the move. She had also pledged that loudspeakers would not be used in the future 'but she said she 'cannot say that LCSD allowed street sleepers to rest outside the Cultural Centre'.' Guards in the past have not bothered street sleepers if they did not lie down until after the centre closed at 11pm and had left by 6am. The Social Welfare Department said its surveys show the city has just under 400 street sleepers. Street sleeping is not against the law but an LCSD spokeswoman said yesterday the department had been maintaining order at the Cultural Centre based on civic centres regulations. She said the department had been 'mindful of taking a balanced approach in handling the problem of street sleepers' and would continue to '[adopt] reasonable measures in handling this matter'. Mr Ng said the guards' disturbance of street sleepers' rest was a nuisance and if police were called, the guards should be arrested. Soco director Ho Hei-wah said disturbing the street sleepers was a violation of human rights.