At least five Central and Western District councillors were fined for violating group gathering restrictions after trying to enter a sports centre in San Ying Pun to verify whether it will become a Covid-19 testing facility.
The councillors – Ted Hui, Sam Yip, Jordan Pang, Fergus Leung, and Napo Wong – were at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park on Friday morning following reports that a truck carrying test kits from the mainland was seen entering the sports centre late on Thursday night.
The five tried to enter the building but they were blocked by about 50 police officers at the entrance.
Yip held up a sign that read "Central and Western District Council's fifth special meeting". When officers told the group they couldn't hold a meeting there, the councillors responded that regulations didn't specify any restrictions on where council meetings could be held.
They were then issued tickets fining them for violating a ban on gatherings of no more than two people under anti-epidemic measures introduced to stem the spread of Covid-19.
The group responded by tearing up the tickets in front of reporters.
Pang said the fact that officers wouldn't let the group inspect the building showed that the government was trying to avoid answering questions.
"It’s just our duty to monitor the facility, and also to have a meeting to question the government representatives whether this is a safe facility [for] us," he said.
The government earlier appointed three private firms – Kingmed Diagnostics, Hong Kong Molecular Pathology Diagnostic Centre and Sunrise Diagnostic Centre – to conduct testing on high-risk groups, involving some 500,000 people.
Sunrise Diagnostic Centre is an affiliate of mainland firm BGI and the truck that was seen entering the sports facility overnight had markings of that firm on it.
Each test costs around HK$300, and it's estimated the three labs will receive HK$150 million.