Protest sagas spark CCTV drive in Legco

Local | Michael Shum 12 Jan 2021

Up to 60 more security cameras should be installed in the Legislative Council complex, a security adviser proposed to the Legco commission.

In a closed-door meeting, it is understood that security advisers proposed installing 50 to 60 more closed-circuit TV cameras to monitor happenings inside. The cameras would mainly cover entrances and blind spots not previously covered.

Sources said the proposal was prompted by incidents involving former Democratic Party member Ted Hui Chi-fung, who was part of mass resignations in November involving pan-democrat lawmakers. Incidents such as when protesters stormed the building and when Hui snatched a civil servant's mobile phone highlighted the problem of inadequate CCTV coverage in the complex, advisers said.

"The two incidents revealed that the current security camera system misses some parts of the building. As Hui's phone-snatching incident happened in one of those blind spots, none of the security cameras caught it," sources said.

"Therefore, current cameras will be replaced and more added, as legislatures around the world, such as in Germany and France, step up security measures as part of a global trend," they added.

At the same meeting, the commission also agreed to digitalize the surveillance system as the current system still uses tape recordings.

The upgrade is another move on the commission's part to step up security at the complex, following the addition of turnstiles at entrances, which were previously only manned by guards.

It sought advice from security advisers after anti-fugitive bill protesters stormed the building on July 1, 2019 - the day marking the 22nd anniversary of the handover.

The meeting also saw discussions regarding the extension of the canteen's operation contract for a year.

According to Legco documents, the current operator will operate the canteen until this July and the commission will then need to start tendering exercise for the next operator.

However, due to the economic gloom and the mass resignations, combined with work-from-home arrangements practiced by Legco staffers, it is expected that the canteen's revenue will be badly hit, according to sources.

"This will severely increase the difficulty to look for tenders, therefore the Legco commission is planning to postpone relevant tendering exercise and hoping to extend the contract with the existing operator for a year, while the operator wants to shorten operation hours," sources said.

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