Hong Kong police

Tighter drug security planned for Road to Ultra festival in Hong Kong after death last year

Event, organised by global festival brand Ultra Worldwide, returns to city less than a year after 27-year-old died at previous edition

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2018, 8:32am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 April, 2018, 8:47am

Metal detectors and drug tests will be used for the first time at the Hong Kong edition of an electronic music festival this year, after one person died and three others fell ill at last year’s event after taking drugs.

And in another first for the city, Road to Ultra – organised by global festival brand Ultra Worldwide and taking place for the third time here in June – will move indoors, to AsiaWorld-Expo on Lantau Island.

A 27-year-old Hongkonger died during the last local edition of the event, at the West Kowloon Cultural District in September 2017. Three others, aged 21 to 29, were admitted to hospital. The three tested positive for controlled drugs and police found two bags of Ecstasy and the tranquilliser midazolam at the site.

AsiaWorld-Expo said it would work with police to keep illegal drugs away from the event, as well as enhancing its own security.

It said concert-goers would have their clothes and belongings smeared with small paper slips for analysis by an explosives, metal and narcotics detector at the entrance.

Police sniffer dogs may also be stationed inside the venue, it said.

Guests would not be allowed to take in bags bigger than an A5 piece of paper, and may be subjected to a pat-down search, the company said.

Drinking water will be available to anyone who needs it.

Ray Martinez, chief of security at the festival, said it was moving indoors because of weather concerns. But he stressed the event’s zero-tolerance approach to drugs.

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“The possession, sale or use of any illegal or illicit drugs at the event will not be tolerated anywhere inside or outside the Ultra Music Festival venue,” he said, reminding anyone planning on attending to notify police or security if they see drug use.