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Hong Kong - First stop on Chinese soil for Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay

The spirit of the Olympic Games will radiate in Hong Kong when the Olympic flame arrives in the territory on April 30 and the Olympic Torch Relay is held on May 2.

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay in Hong Kong is organised by the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF & OC) and co-organised by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Speaking at a press conference on the Torch Relay today (January 30), the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, said the event would be a glorious chapter in Hong Kong sports history in which Hong Kong people would take pride.

He said that the Beijing Olympic Games was the first-ever Olympic Games to be held on Chinese soil, the nation's dream for a century, and Hong Kong people deeply shared the pride . It was Hong Kong's honour to have the opportunity to co-host the Olympic equestrian events. Hong Kong would be the first stop on Chinese soil after the Olympic flame was carried through 19 cities in the five continents. All this marked the event a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for Hong Kong.

Mr Tsang said in order to make the torch relay a successful and colourful event, the Government had been working closely with the SF & OC and established a steering committee to monitor and undertake all special tasks relating to the Hong Kong torch relay. He hoped that Hong Kong people would all share the joy of the Games in witnessing this historical moment.

Also attending the press conference, the President of the SF & OC, Mr Timothy Fok, said that the Olympic Torch Relay was one of the most important events of the Olympic Games.

He said, "it symbolises the passing of the Olympic spirit from generation to generation."

Mr Fok appealed to all to embody the idealíV"One World One Dream" of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Torch Relay in Hong Kong will take place on May 2, lasting for eight hours with its launching ceremony and starting point at the Piazza of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui and the finishing point at the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, followed by a closing celebration.
The Olympic flame will be carried by 120 torchbearers through Kowloon, the New Territories and Hong Kong Island to spread the Olympic spirit by running or on various modes of transportation including cars, dragon boat and vessel.

The route will pass through major landmarks and scenic spots of Hong Kong to showcase the city's unique appeal and attractions to the world. They include Tsing Ma Bridge, Shing Mun River, Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Venue (Sha Tin), Sha Tin Racecourse, Avenue of Stars, Victoria Harbour, Legislative Council Building, Olympic Square in Hong Kong Park, and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

A community celebration will be organised by the Home Affairs Department at the Sha Tin Racecourse.

Students and members of residents' associations will be invited to cheer the torchbearers along the relay route. Moreover, members of the public can watch this spectacular event at home through television broadcasts to witness this historical moment.

To further boost the Olympic atmosphere in the community and its active participation, roving exhibitions bearing the theme of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Torch Relay will be held in the 18 districts between March and May.

A webpage with comprehensive information on the torch relay in Hong Kong, ranging from the history of the Olympic Torch Relay to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay, was also launched at the press conference.

Members of the public can get updates about the torch relay in Hong Kong and colourful photos, maps and hyperlinks at http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/TorchRelay/ .

Other officiating guests present at the press conference were the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Carrie Yau; Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow; Honorary Secretary General of the SF & OC, Mr Pang Chung; and Deputy Director of Leisure and Cultural Services (Leisure Services), Mr Vincent Liu.

After the torch relay in Hong Kong, the Olympic flame will be transported to Macau and other major cities on the Mainland before arriving at Beijing on August 8 for the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Ends/Wednesday, January 30, 2008

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