The permanent office of Beijing’s national security arm in Hong Kong will be set up at the West Kowloon waterfront following a land grant from the city’s government. The site on Hoi Fan Road in Tai Kok Tsui spans nearly 124,000 sq ft – about 1.5 football fields – falling within areas classified as “government, institution or community” under the South West Kowloon Outline Zoning Plan. A government spokesman said in a statement on Friday afternoon: “A government site comprising two portions on Hoi Fan Road in Tai Kok Tsui will be granted to the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (OSNS) for its permanent office premises and ancillary facilities.” The spokesman said such land use was permitted under zoning plans. One of the sites is currently used as a marine police operational base and is next to Yuen Fat Wharf. The two compounds are separated by Sir Ellis Kadoorie Secondary School and Tai Kok Tsui Catholic Primary School along Hoi Fan Road. Other surrounding buildings and facilities include a wholesale food market, a pump house belonging to the MTR Corporation , a water pumping station and power substation. The sites also face the PLA naval base and government dockyard on Stonecutters Island across the harbour. The statement also cited the national security law, as stipulating the Hong Kong government shall provide necessary facilitation and support to the OSNS in performing its mandate in accordance with the legislation. “The OSNS will carry out the construction in accordance with the national security law and relevant laws and regulations in Hong Kong. The OSNS will bear the required costs,” the statement read. Beijing’s national security office in Hong Kong ‘to move out of Causeway Bay’ Beijing’s national security office began its operations at the Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay on July 8 last year, just eight days after the related legislation was imposed on the city on June 30. The hotel rooms were turned into offices or used as dormitories. Since then, Zheng Yanxiong, the office’s chief, as well as other employees, work and live in the building owned by China Travel Service. The office was staffed by more than 200 employees when it opened. Authorities on Friday did not reveal when construction would start at the West Kowloon site, as well as a completion date, and whether mainland officials would move out of the Metropark. The sites are located within the boundaries of the Olympic constituency, under the Yau Tsim Mong District Council, or the Kowloon West constituency of the Legislative Council. Opposition activist Yu Tak-po, vice-chairman of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council, said the government should have consulted the council before using a site that had the potential to hold more leisure facilities. “I wonder if the authorities have run out of choices,” he said. “The site is a precious resource, but now residents are deprived of a piece of land where a park or other facilities could be built.” A government source with knowledge of the matter said security was one of the main considerations behind the decision, but would not comment further as national security business is confidential. The insider said the central government would not consult district councils when it came to national matters. “When the central government asks for land, the Hong Kong officials will have to give it,” the insider said. “Do the district councillors think they have the right to oppose state matters?” Will national security law force exodus of Hong Kong’s teachers, students? Former opposition lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who represents Olympic on the district council, said there were already many parks and leisure facilities in the neighbourhood and believed the land had been chosen because they were not hotspots. “The granted sites are surrounded by warehouses, electricity substations, and a public vehicle depot,” he said. “This is a place where relatively few people would go … I think the national security office chose this place so that not that many people would notice its presence.” Pro-establishment lawmaker Vincent Cheng Wing-shun, who represents Kowloon West, welcomed the arrangement. said it would “make my constituency safer”. The city’s annual budget unveiled in February showed HK$8 billion had been earmarked for national security in the coming years. The government later said the provision had nothing to do with Beijing’s national security office in Causeway Bay, as its operations were funded by the central government. Since the legislation came into force on June 30 last year, the police’s national security department has arrested 100 people and prosecuted 57. The law bans acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with offenders facing up to life in prison.