MR CHAN KIN-POR (in Cantonese): President, I support today’s motion on implementing co-location arrangement at the new Huanggang Port, and I also hope that the construction of the new Huanggang Port building can be completed expeditiously, so as to help promote connectivity in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (“the Greater Bay Area”).
The control point at the Huanggang Port is one of the busiest land boundary control point, and the first 24-hour boundary control point between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Having been in use for four decades, its facilities are unavoidably getting time-worn and call for redevelopment. The most distinctive feature of the Huanggang Port is that the passenger clearance buildings of the two places are not directly connected, making it necessary for travellers to take shuttle buses to travel between them. I believe Members all have a clear memory of it.
In 2019, the Shenzhen Municipal Government proposed the redevelopment of Huanggang Port as well as the implementation of co-location arrangement at the new port. The construction of the new Huanggang Port building will be financed by Shenzhen, and Hong Kong will only be required to pay a nominal rent of RMB1,000 per year. The building is expected to be completed in 2023. The size of Hong Kong Port Area (“HKPA”) will increase from 140 000 sq m to 400 000 sq m, and the passenger traffic is expected to increase significantly from 68 000 passengers to 90 000 to 100 000 passengers per day. The co-location arrangement at the new Huanggang Port will follow the model of Shenzhen Bay, meaning that Hong Kong will have full jurisdiction in HKPA and the clearance arrangement will also be the same as that of Shenzhen Bay.
Since all that Hong Kong needs to do is to pay a nominal rent and nothing else, some Honourable colleagues have described the Shenzhen Municipal Government as offering us a huge giveaway, but I would rather say that the Shenzhen Municipal Government has the big picture in mind. It has been making efforts to achieve connectivity with Hong Kong in view of the numerous opportunities for cross-boundary cooperation between us in the future, including the implementation of various proposals in the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Now, taking forward co-location arrangement at the Huanggang Port is a good start, but apart from completing the work on local legislation, Hong Kong also needs to do a proper job in operating HKPA and making supporting arrangements in Hong Kong’s boundary area.
In addition, the coming closure of the existing Lok Ma Chau Control Point will release 20 hectares of land then, and the Government will explore its use. The Secretary for Security has mentioned that one of the proposals is to develop the land concerned in tandem with areas such as San Tin and Kwu Tung for residential purpose, while another proposal is to use the land concerned for scientific research purpose to tie in with the development of the Lok Ma Chau Loop. But considering the acute shortage of areas for housing in Hong Kong and the considerable size of the 20 hectares of land, I hope that the use of the land concerned can dovetail with the development of new towns, and the Government should give construction of housing a higher priority in the consideration of its use.
President, today’s motion has inevitably reminded us of what happened in 2018 when this Council deliberated on the co-location arrangement at the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (“XRL”). Back then, the opposition camp had no scruples about using various lies and false information to frighten Hong Kong people. They alleged that the implementation co-location arrangement at XRL would enable Mainland State Security officers to make arrests across the boundary anytime. They even told members of the public not to go to areas around Jordan. They also went on to call white black by describing the co-location arrangement as occupation of Hong Kong’s territory and equivalent to ceding the territory of Hong Kong. Fortunately, with the full support of the pro-establishment Members, the co-location arrangement at XRL was able to be implemented smoothly. Now that three years have passed, everyone considers it a great convenience to have the co-location arrangement at XRL, and none of the concerns raised by the opposition camp have come true.
Deceiving Hong Kong people with numerous lies, the opposition camp actually intended to hinder further integration of the Mainland and Hong Kong. The co-location arrangement would make it convenient for people in the Mainland and Hong Kong to travel between the two places. If given more opportunities to go to the Mainland, Hong Kong people would find out more about the development of our country. This is probably what the opposition camp did not want to see.
As a matter of fact, with the development of the Greater Bay Area, more and more Hong Kong people will live, work and do business there, while economic integration in the area will further progress. This is the prevailing trend and the new development direction for Hong Kong. In light of this, I support the implementation of co-location arrangement at the Huanggang Port.
Thank you, President.