A permanent office for Hong Kong’s Office for Safeguarding National Security will be established at a site in Tai Kok Tsui, the government announced on Friday.

Land allocated for the Office for Safeguarding National Security. Photo: GovHK.

The site, measuring 11,500 square metres on Hoi Fan Road, will house the permanent, new office space and “ancillary facilities,” according to an official statement. It sits near Sir Ellis Kadoorie Secondary School.

Construction costs for the complex will be covered by the national security office. HK$8 billion was set aside in the 2021 budget for the purposes of protecting national security.

The current, temporary office facility at a hotel in Tai Hing. Photo: Rachel Wong/HKFP.

Established as an independent office to safeguard national security in Hong Kong last July, the base has been temporarily located at the Metropark hotel in Causeway Bay.

It is led by mainland official Zheng Yanxiong, a Chinese Communist Party hardliner who answers only to Beijing.

In June 2020, Beijing inserted national security legislation directly into Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – bypassing the local legislature – following a year of pro-democracy protests and unrest. It criminalised subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to transport and other infrastructure. The move gave police sweeping new powers, alarming democrats, civil society groups and trade partners, as such laws have been used broadly to silence and punish dissidents in China. However, the authorities say it has restored stability and peace to the city.

Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.