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"Bun scrambling" application rejected

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) today (May 14) informed the Cheung Chau Bun Festival Organising Committee that approval to hold the "bun scrambling" activity at Pak Tai Temple Playground had been rejected because proposed safety measures failed to meet the specified requirements.

A spokesman for the LCSD said: "The decision to reject the application has been reached after detailed study and consultation with other government departments concerned on the safety proposal submitted by the committee on May 4.

"The department has always lent full support to community organisations in staging traditional activities at its venues to add festive atmosphere and boost local tourism. In processing the applications, public safety is our primary consideration and organisers are required to take every possible measure to ensure that the activity is conducted in a safe and orderly manner."

In the past, the committee has been granted permission to stage the Bun Festival at Pak Tai Temple Playground, including the traditional procession and the orderly distribution of buns.

This year, approval has already been given for the traditional procession to go ahead. As for staging the "bun scrambling" activity, the LCSD had asked the committee to come up with a proposal which met the following specific requirements:

* To appoint an authorised person to submit documents certifying that the bun towers are structurally sound to allow the "bun scrambling" activity to be conducted in a safe manner;

* To take out a public liability insurance with sufficient coverage; and

* To submit a comprehensive and effective proposal on safety measures to safeguard climbers and other participants of the activity.

"This is considered absolutely necessary in view of the accident in 1978 which saw the collapse of bun towers and numerous casualties. It is also in accordance with the existing safety requirements for activities of a similar nature.

"If the committee can submit a fresh proposal which meets these requirements, the department will re-consider its application for staging the 'bun scrambling' activity," the spokesman said.

Ends/Friday, May 14, 2004
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