FactWire found that public entries accounted for less than half of all the visitors to the disciplinary forces training schools open day held last week.
In particular, the amount of people who visited the Hong Kong Police College alone outweighed the sum of visitors to the four other schools.
The government refused to provide an explanation for the allocation of tickets.
The training schools’ open day was part of the promotional and educational activities organised by the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR, in support of the National Security Education Day on April 15, 2021.
Schools opening their doors to the public that day included the Correctional Services Department Staff Training Institute, Hong Kong Customs College, Fire and Ambulance Services Academy, Hong Kong Police College and Immigration Service Institute of Training and Development. There were two sessions per school.
A quota was set for the number of visitors to each school. Public tickets were randomly assigned to people who had registered online in advance. Each ticket permitted the entry of two persons at most.
Based on FactWire’s on-site observation, the majority of visitors to the schools of Customs and Immigration Service appeared to be family or friends of the forces. Not many held public tickets.
According to the data provided by the five related disciplinary forces to FactWire, there were altogether 1,238 visitors entering with a pre-registered online ticket, accounting for a mere 48 percent of the total number of visitors.
Hong Kong Customs College received the least number of public visitors. Among 265 total visitors, only 30 percent of them, or around 80 people, were public members who had registered beforehand. The remaining 70 percent of tickets were distributed to the Customs’ “business partners, their family and family of the officers.”
The Fire and Ambulance Services Academy received 290 visitors. Around half of them entered with a public registration while the other half were Fire Safety Ambassadors.
The Immigration Service Institute of Training and Development had 260 visitors. Among them, 114 people held a public ticket, and the remaining places were given to the partners of immigration services youth training programmes as well as families of the Institute’s trainees.
More than 190 people visited the Correctional Services Department Staff Training Institute. Over 60 percent were pre-registered public members, while others were family of the Institute’s trainees.
As for the Hong Kong Police College, the number of visitors reached 1,570. Approximately half of them entered via the public registration path and the rest were members of uniform groups, Senior Police Call, Junior Police Call and students.
FactWire’s reporters each applied for public tickets online but were only granted two. It shows that the number of applicants outweighed the quota for the public.
The number of visitors to all five schools summed up to 2,575. Over half of them were visitors to the Hong Kong Police College. In contrast, the total number of visitors to the other four schools accounted for only 40 percent.
Past records show that most of these schools could accommodate more than a thousand visitors on their previous open days, except for the Hong Kong Customs College in which no relevant open data was found. According to the Immigration Department’s website, the number of visitors on its ‘Immigration Service Institute of Training and Development Open Day cum Youth Development Day’ reached 1,800.
Only the Fire Services Department responded that the quota of 300 people was set for the Fire and Ambulance Services Academy. The respective quotas for the other schools are unknown.
FactWire asked for further information from the Security Bureau and the disciplinary forces concerning the quota of visitors, the method and the party in charge of deciding the quota. Along with this, FactWire inquired about the reason public-ticket visitors did not reach half of the total number of visitors. The Information Services Department said it has “no further comment” on FactWire’s enquiries.
Participants of the National Security Education Day activities were given a number of souvenirs including a canvas bag, a face mask holder, a USB drive of 16GB, etc. In a response to FactWire’s enquiry, the government did not disclose the cost of organising the open days and procuring the souvenirs, instead pointing out that the National Security Education Day was organised by the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR, and that the relevant amount was included in the expenditure for safeguarding national security.
The city’s Budget 2021/22 had eight billion dollars set aside for a “special fund to meet the expenditure for safeguarding national security”. Its breakdown and allocation remain unknown.