The Olympic flame today (April 30) arrived in its first stop on Chinese soil, Hong Kong, for the Torch Relay in the territory to be conducted on May 2 (Friday). This is the second time for the Olympic flame to be relayed in Hong Kong since the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964.
The charter flight carrying the Olympic flame arrived in Hong Kong at 1.53pm from Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City. The Executive Vice-President of Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), Mr Yang Shuan held the tinder lamp when disembarking from the plane. The Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, the President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, Mr Timothy Fok, the Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr Gao Siren, and the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow, welcomed the arrival of the Olympic flame on the apron.
After a brief flame receiving ceremony at the airport, the convoy under the escort of Police vehicles sent the Olympic flame to the piazza of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre (HKCC) where a solemn Olympic flame receiving ceremony was held.
Speaking at the Flame Receiving Ceremony, the Chief Secretary for Administration Mr Henry Tang, said Hong Kong was honoured to be one of the 134 relay cities.
"We are immensely proud to be the first Chinese city to welcome the torch after its global journey. With months of intense preparation...we are ready!" he said.
"On May 2, the torch relay will showcase to the world Hong Kong's special character, our beautiful scenery, and the vibrancy of our city, the events capital of Asia," he added.
Mr Tang also appealed to the public to support the "Hong Kong Welcomes the Torch" campaign and dress in red to proudly Light the Passion, Share the Dream!
After that, Mr Yang, Mr Tang, Mr Fok, Mr Tsang, Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr Li Guikang and the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Mrs Carrie Yau, unveiled the sculpture of the Olympic torch together for commemorating this great event in Hong Kong.
The stainless steel sculpture, which is 3.6 metres tall (four metres tall including the base) and 350 kilogrammes in weight, is enlarged to scale of the real torch. It will be served as a legacy of the Olympic Torch Relay and will be permanently erected at the waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui for the public to appreciate and take pictures.
The Olympic Torch Relay in Hong Kong will take place on May 2 from 10.30am, 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 which 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. A community celebration will be organised by the Home Affairs Department at the Sha Tin Racecourse.
Ends/Wednesday, April 30, 2008