Police get rough ride on HQ funding

Local | Michael Shum 23 Jan 2020

Pro-democracy lawmakers tried to make things difficult for police headquarters renovation funding requests in a Legislative Council public works subcommittee meeting yesterday by questioning every item on the list.

The renovation costs are to be funded from the government's HK$22.5 billion capital works reserve fund block allocations. Legislators failed to put the request to a vote when the meeting ended.

Pan-democrat Raymond Chan Chi-chuen questioned why the renovation jobs were divided into separate projects, accusing the police of attempting to get more funding.

Sylvia Lam Yu Ka-wai, director of architectural services, responded: "The repair works in the police headquarters started at different times and are different in nature."

The Civic Party's Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu pointed out that the budget for the power supply system was HK$17.8 million in 2018/19, but went up to HK$19.8 million for the year 2019/20 and questioned the HK$2 million rise in just one year.

Holden Chow Ho-ding of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said many of these repairs were related to improvements of fire service equipment and slammed lawmakers from the rival camp for accusing the police of using the funding to deal with the protests.

For her part, Lam said all works would involve the power supply system and that it has to be checked from time to time.

In response to questions, chief superintendent Lee Nga-lai said the headquarters consists of four buildings, with many of the units constructed in the 1990s.

She added that 18 renovation jobs started in 2016, while six of the unfinished projects started in 2014 or 2015.

She brushed off claims that the police divided up the projects for more funding.

Meanwhile, the finance committee has decided to add 10 more meetings lasting a total of 28 hours this year as lawmakers have yet to pass civil servants' pay rises, due to opposition to the police getting the same hike.

The decision came as the committee has to weigh two controversial proposals, one involving the pay rise and the other a HK$10 billion funding request by Ocean Park.

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