on 4 March 1999
Legislative Council Panel on Security
Construction of Permanent Immigration Service Training School and
Perowne Immigration Centre for the Immigration Department
This paper informs Members of the Immigration Department's proposal to construct a permanent Immigration Service training school and an Immigration processing centre with detention facilities at part of the ex-military site of Perowne Barracks, Castle Peak Road, Tuen Mun. The project will incur a capital project cost of about $733 million with expected additional annual recurrent cost of $65 million. We intend to submit the item to the Public Works Sub-committee and the Finance Committee for funding approval for partial upgrading to Category A for pre-contract consultancy design services in April and May 1999 respectively.
2. The proposed project, providing approximately 16,000m2 net floor area, a 5,000m2 open drill ground and an 800m2 covered exercise area on a reserved site of 15,690m2 comprises:
- demolition of the existing structures of the temporary Immigration Service training school followed by the construction of a purpose built complex comprising a training school linked to a separate fitness centre. (Total net area of about 12,900m2 including 420m2 for a recruitment offices); and
- an Immigration processing centre (to be named as Perowne Immigration Centre) of about 8,900m2 net area (which includes an 800m2 net exercise area and 500m2 net shared car parking area).
3. The two-phase construction over two and a half years will provide: -
Need for the project
- a training school with administrative offices, classrooms, a mock court, a lecture theatre, a library, a computer training centre, a video and audio recording interview practicing room, departmental archive, indoor fitness centre, swimming pool, external parade/drill ground and residential facilities for trainees, and other supporting facilities;
- an Immigration processing centre with staff offices, accommodation for 400 immigration detainees, covered exercise area for inmates, staff barracks and other supporting facilities such as sick bay, etc.; and
- a recruitment office with interview and other supporting facilities.
4. The Immigration Department (Imm.D.) is presently using, on a temporary basis, the facilities being left behind by the British Army at the Perowne Barracks for induction and in-service training. These training facilities are outdated and inadequate. On the operational side, the Department has been experiencing difficulties in housing immigration offenders on account of congestion at the Victoria Immigration Detention Centre (VIC) and other penal institutions.
5. The Imm.D. is the only disciplined service which does not have a proper training school. In the past few decades, classroom training was conducted within the Headquarters whereas physical and drill training was conducted in facilities belonging to the Auxiliary Police Force and the Hong Kong Regiment. These arrangements proved to be undesirable as they incurred considerable wastage of resources in deployment of staff, transportation and travelling time, not to mention the adverse effect on the morale and sense of belonging of both the training staff and the trainees. Training programmes had invariably been affected as the facilities could not be made available for Imm.D. on a fixed schedule.
6. The demand for office accommodation in the Immigration Headquarters increased drastically with the rapid expansion of Immigration businesses in scale and scope. The result of a space vetting exercise conducted by the Government Property Agency for 1997/1998 indicated that Imm.D. suffered a serious space shortfall. The training facilities on the 21/F of Immigration Tower were therefore reprovisioned to the Perowne Barracks in 1995. In view of the temporary nature of the allocation, only minimum fitting-out on the facilities at Perowne Barracks had been carried out. Apart from a training block, Imm.D. has to share the drill ground, gymnasium, and other facilities with other users. These facilities at the Perowne Barracks, however, will be demolished for town planning development.
7. The ever increasing commitments of the department in enforcing effective immigration control have given rise to the need for a high degree of professionalism, discipline, physical fitness and mental alertness from the immigration service staff. Such a need can only be met by providing sufficient training for both the new recruits and the serving staff.
8. With the resumption of recruitment at the Immigration Officer rank, resources for induction training have substantially increased. As a result, both induction and in-service training needs have further exceeded the existing fully utilised training capacity. In 1998, 63 courses were run and all the 11 classrooms in the school were heavily utilised. Furthermore, the site at Perowne Barracks is going to be redeveloped for use as Government/Institution or Community purpose. The Imm.D. therefore considers it necessary to construct a proper training school as a long term solution.
Immigration Processing Centre
9. Immigration offenders (illegal immigrants, overstayers, illegal workers, etc.) who have no claim on Hong Kong are removed to their countries of origin as soon as possible. Sometimes, their immediate departure cannot be effected because of documentation and flight arrangements, court sentences or outstanding legal proceedings, etc.
10. At present, there are no dedicated facilities for housing immigration offenders pending removal. They are kept at the Victoria Immigration Detention Centre (VIC) inside the Victoria Prison (VP). VP does not only house immigration detainees but also inmates convicted of other criminal offences. Owing to the overcrowded situation in penal institutions, the Correctional Services Department (CSD) has since 1 November 1994 been able to allocate only a maximum of 300 places in VIC to immigration detainees. Owing to this constraint, Imm.D. has to release some detainees in excess on recognisance. Between 1 November 1994 and 31 December 1998, 48,662 immigration offenders (of Chinese origin) had been released from VIC on recognisance. Among them, 629 had absconded (absconding rate was 1.29%). Extra resources had to be deployed to locate these absconders. But only 379 of them were apprehended again and removed afterwards.
11. Since the closure of all detention centres for Vietnamese in May 1998, Vietnamese illegal immigrants are transferred to and detained in VP. This has aggravated the congestion problem at the VIC inside the VP. During the months from October to December 1998, out of the 92 working days, the admission quota of VP was full for 54 days.
12. When the VIC is full, some immigration detainees had to be transferred to different penal institutions (i.e. Lai Chi Kok Remand Centre, Tai Lam Centre for Women & Pik Uk Correctional Institution). Immigration escort and transport of detainees to and from these scattered institutions and VIC had created considerable strain on already tight immigration resources.
13. To improve the situation and to lighten the strain imposed on the Immigration resources, construction of a separate Immigration processing centre is essential. The processing centre for housing 400 immigration detainees would replace the existing VIC which would then be returned to CSD to alleviate the overcrowdedness in other penal institutions. The proposed centre will provide adequate facilities to cope with the existing operational need.
14. With the operation of the Chek Lap Kok Airport in July 1998 daily transfer of immigration offenders from various penal institutions to the airport has added on resources problems. The establishment of an Immigration Centre at Perowne will facilitate repatriation by air. It will also be a more convenient journey to Man Kam To Control Point in regard to repatriation to the Mainland.
15. The proposal of constructing the training school and the processing centre on the same site will provide a more flexible deployment of staff. It will also facilitate mobilization of staff to the processing centre in emergencies. By having the two structures built at the same location, we can maximize the site usage to the required plot ratio of 1.3.
16. For operational efficiency and to optimise site utilisation, it is also proposed to reprovision the Recruitment Section of Imm.D. presently located at Ma Tau Kok Road Government Offices to the new school site. The Recruitment Section is under the line management of the Immigration Service Training School. It will facilitate the physical tests which are part of the recruitment process and which will be conducted more economically and efficiently by sharing the physical training facilities of the training school.
17. The project capital cost, subject to further refinement at a later stage is estimated by D.Arch.S. at about $733 million (at December 1997 prices) with a breakdown as follows:
|(a) Site Works
|(b) Geotechnical Works
|(e) Building Services
|(f) Drainage and External Works
|(g) Consultant Fees
|(h) Furniture and Equipment
|(i) Contract Contingencies
|(j) Project Contingencies
18. An additional annual recurrent expenditure for the training school, Immigration processing centre and Recruitment office after identifying the savings from superseded buildings, is about $65 million comprising the following items:
Consequence of not proceeding with the Project
|(a) Staff costs
|(b) Light and power
|(d) Stores and equipment
|(e) Transport and travelling
|(f) Specialist supplies and equipment
|(g) Recurrent subventions
|(h) Repairs and maintenance
|(i) Other recurrent costs
|(j) Total annual recurrent cost
|(k) Less : Savings from superseded building / asset, if any
|(l) Net increase in cost
19. Non-provision of the permanent Immigration Service training school will severely affect the training of both newly recruited and serving staff. Imm.D. would not be able to meet the ever increasing commitment of enforcing effective immigration control and other services. The department would have to continue to suffer considerable strain on resources in escorting offenders between scattered penal institutions and the VIC. The VIC would not be returned to CSD and penal overcrowding would sustain.
20. The Tuen Mun Provisional District Board was consulted on 12 December 1997. The Board supported the project in principle.
21. Subject to funding approval, pre-contract structural engineering and quantity surveying consultancy in regard to outline sketch, detailed design and contract documentation for the construction work will commence in July 1999. The architectural and building services design elements of the project will be undertaken by Director of Architectural Services. Detailed design of the project is expected to be completed by August 2000. With the full upgrading of the project to Category A by PWSC and FC in late 2000, construction works will commence in July 2001. It is expected that the Immigration processing centre will be in place in early 2003 and the Immigration Service training school in early 2004.