National security agents given harbourfront site

Beijing’s national security agents are being given an 11,500 square metre harbourfront site for their first permanent base in Hong Kong.

Since July last year, the Office for Safeguarding National Security (OSNS) has been operating out of the Metropark Hotel in Causeway Bay.

But SAR authorities announced on Friday that the agents are to move to a government site spanning both sides of Hoi Fan Road in Tai Kok Tsui.

The land will provide the national security personnel with “permanent office premises and ancillary facilities”, the government said in a statement.

“The OSNS will carry out the construction in accordance with the national security law and relevant laws and regulations in Hong Kong. The OSNS will bear the required costs,” the statement said.

Authorities have said the office is responsible for “overseeing, guiding, coordinating with and providing support to the HKSAR in the performance of its duties for safeguarding national security”.

Its agents are not subject to Hong Kong law when they carry out their duties.

The government’s budget announcement in February revealed that HK$8 billion of taxpayer money was being set aside for “safeguarding national security in the coming years”. The government refused to provide details as to what exactly the huge sum would be spent on.