Fund not for mainland soldiers, agents

Business | Wallis Wang 26 Feb 2021

The HK$8 billion for defending national security will not be used to pay mainland agents or the People's Liberation Army soldiers, the government has clarified.

It comes after people questioned the reasoning for allocating the huge sum amid the economic turmoil, saying the money can be put to better use.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said the funding is necessary to plug security loopholes highlighted by the unrest two years ago and that the money is not going to the PLA.

On a radio program yesterday, a listener, Mrs Ho, said the HK$8 billion national security fund seems frightening to people.

"The authorities only said the fund will be used in the coming years, without explaining how many years the fund will be used, and we feel like it's a lot of money," Ho said.

"Hong Kong is such a small place with only seven million people. Are you thinking of building another prison and arresting everyone who opposes the government?"

Another caller, Mr Yuen, criticized the government for "wasting money instead of helping" Hongkongers.

"Hong Kong has been a safe place and you are allocating HK$8 billion as military funds during an economic crisis? Save Hongkongers first!" Yuen said.

But Chan stressed the HK$8 billion is necessary and that it is not a military fund.

"Mr Yuen said we are safe and do not need to waste money on national security, but we experienced a six-month rioting in 2019, which exposed the loopholes we have on national security," Chan said.

The government also stressed the Office for Safeguarding National Security based in Hong Kong is funded by the central government.

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