Hong Kong police receive 45 reports of incidents at West Kowloon terminus of high-speed rail, with 3 in mainland port area
Most cases centre on lost property, with emergency mechanism involving authorities on both sides to handle calls in zone under mainland law
Hong Kong police have received 45 reports of incidents at the West Kowloon terminus of the newly launched high-speed rail link to Guangzhou, with three cases occurring in an area designated for mainland customs procedures.
According to sources, local police did not cross into the zone at the station to deal with the three cases. The incidents in the mainland port area involved lost property, a sick Hongkonger and trespassing by two local technicians.
“Local medical personnel [entered the area] at the station to assist the sick passenger under the emergency handling mechanism,” one source said.
“We did not see the need for local police to enter the mainland port area to assist in the other two cases. On the case of lost property, Hong Kong police directed the commuter to mainland law enforcers for follow-ups.”
Under a so-called co-location agreement, a zone at the West Kowloon terminus is leased to the central government, and mainland laws apply there. Supporters argued this would allow greater convenience for commuters, with a joint checkpoint system consolidating customs for both sides under one roof.
But critics said it contravened the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, which stipulates no mainland law shall apply on the city’s soil. They claimed this was a sign of Beijing’s growing influence and encroachment on freedoms in Hong Kong.
The 26km Hong Kong section of the HK$84.4 billion (US$10.7 billion) Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link opened on September 23.
Under an arrangement reached by both sides, passengers who make emergency calls in the mainland port area will be placed on a conference call involving Hong Kong and mainland authorities when necessary.
In the zone, calls to the local police’s 999 hotline and to the mainland’s 112 version would likewise be first answered by Hong Kong officers.
A police spokesman said that, as of last Wednesday, the force had received 42 reports of incidents outside the mainland port area while another three occurred within the zone.
Most cases involved lost property, he added. The reports were lodged at police stations or through 999 calls.
Under the controversial co-location plan, immigration counters on departure levels at the terminus, as well as platforms and compartments of moving trains in Hong Kong, will also fall under mainland jurisdiction.