Published: 18:34, April 13, 2024 | Updated: 12:29, April 14, 2024
HK residents’ awareness of national security 'deepened’
By Wu Kunling in Hong Kong
Residents take photos during the Hong Kong Police College Open Day, on April 13, 2024, in Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong residents who attended open-day activities organized by the city’s disciplined forces on Saturday said their knowledge on national security has deepened, and they now feel more secure and confident about living and studying in the special administrative region as national security is being safeguarded.

A wide range of activities was held in the SAR to mark the nation’s ninth National Security Education Day which falls on April 15 every year.

The Hong Kong police force, the immigration and correctional services departments and the Government Flying Service organized an open day at their training campuses or branches to enable thousands of residents to understand their daily operations and strengthen the public’s understanding of national security.

The open day at the Hong Kong Police College also marked the 180th anniversary of the Hong Kong Police Force and served as an eye-opener for many residents who attended

The Customs and Exercise Department and the Fire Services Department will hold similar events on Sunday.

The SAR will also organize a National Security Education Day opening ceremony and seminar, themed “The 10th Anniversary of a Holistic Approach to National Security” at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday.

This year also marks the first National Security Education Day in Hong Kong after the city enacted the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance under Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong on March 23.

The open day at the Hong Kong Police College in Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Island, also marked the 180th anniversary of the Hong Kong Police Force and served as an eye-opener for many residents who attended.

Ho Chun-hei – a 15-year-old secondary school student – told China Daily he has learned the importance of getting residents to understand the potential security risks the city faces. He said he realized his obligation to safeguard the city he calls home after attending the one-day event.

Through the activities held at the police college, Ho said he had gained a deeper understanding of the work of the police force, and has developed a keen interest in pursuing related fields. He was particularly curious about the operations of the Force Escort Group, which is tasked with escorting dignitaries, such as royal family members and visiting leaders of foreign countries and regions.

Many of Ho’s friends also attended the event,  including Fung Hau-yan, a 15-year-old fourth-grade secondary school student. Fung said she was deeply impressed by a demonstration in which members of the police force’s Special Duties Unit subdued “criminals”, adding that the Hong Kong police’s advanced equipment and perfect coordination with police dogs have left a strong and cool impression on her.

A couple in their 30s working in the finance industry, Hani Zhang and Nick Yao, who have been living in Hong Kong for a decade, said they were also impressed.

After witnessing the spirit of the police in the grand show, Zhang said she felt a greater sense of security and confidence in Hong Kong, knowing that both the society and its residents are now fully protected. Zhang described the show as uplifting for her, especially having experienced the social unrest in 2019.

Yao said he was particularly impressed by the counter-terrorism exercise, finding it truly captivating. As an avid photographer, he managed to take many photos of the exercise, describing the event as a rare opportunity.

The police’s performance in keeping Hong Kong safe also won the hearts of expatriates living in the city.

Mohammad Ilyas, a 49-year-old Pakistani businessman who lives in Hong Kong and frequently travels abroad on business, commended the city’s exceptional public security, noting its world-leading status.

Having gone through the local social unrest in the past, he said the city still faces certain security risks. But he appreciates the police force’s efficient handling of dangerous situations, and is confident about the city’s future.

A grand show presented by various police departments was among the diverse range of activities at the force’s open day, and received thunderous applause from the audience. Police units, including the Police Escort Group, the Counter Terrorism Response Unit and the Special Duties Unit, showcased their daily work by using authentic equipment.

The open day also saw a series of exhibitions, such as the Hong Kong Police Force 180 exhibition introducing the force’s 180-year history, and a national security exhibition.

A 45-year-old civil servant, surnamed Leung, who visited the exhibition, said it was only after the social unrest in 2019 did she realize that the risks to national security could disturb social order.

She showed keen interest in an interactive knowledge quiz game at the exhibition, describing it as both enjoyable and remarkably informative. Joining her in the game was her 64-year-old aunt, who expressed the belief that if children could receive education on national security by taking part in such games, they would develop a stronger sense of what’s right and wrong at an early age.

Alice Zhu contributed to the story.

Contact the writer at amberwu@chinadailyhk.com