From 2pm, groups of officers sealed off the park’s football pitches, basketball courts, the central lawn and nearby paths.
They cited powers they have under the Public Order Ordinance for the closure, saying the commander on the ground will decide when to re-open the park, provided “the risks to public order and safety are minimised”.
“Having considered all the intelligence and assessing the threats we’re facing today, we believe [closing the park] would be the most effective measure in order to prevent the happening of any unauthorised assembly,” a police senior superintendent, Liauw Ka-kei, said at a press briefing.
Asked whether they were worried people might turn up at the park and violate the national security law, Liauw said officers consider the Beijing-imposed legislation when it comes to all of their enforcement action.
The senior superintendent was also asked whether it is illegal to wear black clothes in the vicinity of Victoria Park, or light candles in the area, but said it wasn’t easy for him to provide an answer.
But “people know full well” if they’re trying to join an unauthorised assembly or not, he added.
Liauw also stressed that a ban on public gatherings of more than four people is still in place. But said if people remain peaceful and orderly, they can get together in other places around the SAR.
“From the bottom of my heart, I must say, I believe Hong Kong’s still a safe and free city. For all the orderly and peaceful events held in Hong Kong, the police will try our best to facilitate,” the senior superintendent said.
“But for all events, if it’s unlawful, the police will have no option but to enforce [the law] according to the law.”