Police confirmed today that Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the city for the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule this week and announced that, in preparation, major roads in Wan Chai and the Exhibition Centre MTR station will close in phases beginning on Wednesday.
This comes after days of uncertainty over whether Xi will visit the city for the official July 1 celebrations on Thursday and Friday.
Speaking at a press conference, Lui Kam-ho, assistant commissioner of police for operations, said the Chinese leader will attend a number of official and celebratory events as well as officiate the inauguration ceremony for the new cabinet.
“During the event, police [are] duty-bound to ensure the personal safety and security of our president and to ensure the official events that he will attend and other related functions are conducted in a safe, orderly and secure manner,” he said.
To do so, Lui said the force will provide motorcade escorts and personal protection for Xi, adding there will be some temporary road closures and traffic diversions.
From 2am on Wednesday, all roads in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Peninsula will be closed, including Expo Drive, Convention Avenue, and sections of Fleming Road and Lung Wo Road.
From 1am on Thursday, the Exhibition Centre MTR station will be closed. The East Rail line will continue running but will not stop at the Exhibition Centre MTR station.
Visit the Transport Department’s website for the full list of road closures and traffic diversions.
People going to the peninsula and also the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre will need to go through security checks during this period.
Police appealed to motorists to not drive to the affected area of Wan Chai North as traffic congestion is expected.
Nearby areas of Central, Admiralty and Causeway Bay are also expected to be affected.
Lui also said that the Civil Aviation Department will designate temporary restricted flying zones in the vicinity of Victoria Harbour and several designated areas on Thursday and Friday, meaning aircraft and other flying objects will be restricted from entering the area.
Small unmanned aircraft, more commonly known as drones, will be restricted from flying across all of Hong Kong during this period.
“Police [are] fully aware that the security measures, traffic arrangement and temporary restricted flying zone might cause a certain degree of inconvenience to the community. However, such arrangements were implemented after assessing different risk factors and we are duty-bound to ensure that the security operation will be conducted in a safe and orderly manner,” said Lui.
The force also warned residents not to commit acts of violence or interference with the security operation.
“Police will not tolerate any acts of violence or public disorder and will not tolerate anything that may interfere and undermine the security operation,” said Lui, adding the force will take resolute actions if anyone commits such acts.
He said that, as of today, they have not yet received any notification from any organization of their intent to hold public events during the period.
However, they will reserve a designated public activities area outside the security zone and a petition area for members of the public to hold activities and present petition letters.