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Sleepless of Shenzhen ask HK to dim the border lights

By Zhang Xiaobo (Global Times)

08:32, June 08, 2013

Police in Hong Kong said they will negotiate with the relevant authorities to dim the searchlights at the border, after residents in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, living adjacent to the special administrative region, have complained of severe light pollution.

"These lights are set on the 5.6-kilometer Patrol Road along Lok Ma Chau, a checkpoint along the Shenzhen River, to prevent illegal border crossing," the Hong Kong police authority said, adding that the lights, which will be turned down, will be switched on every night from June 10.

Since the searchlights were turned on as a trial on May 14, Hong Kong police confirmed that two Shenzhen residents living right beside the border have filed three complaints about the bright lights at night, saying they can hardly sleep.

The response from Hong Kong, however, does not help alleviate the concerns that the searchlights will continue to disturb residents.

"We've already received hundreds of complaints. What will we do if the other side keeps those lights on every night?" said an employee of a property management company from Guanghua Garden residential compound in Shenzhen, who declined to be named.

Buildings in the compound are only 50 meters away from Hong Kong. Residents saw the lights tested from 6 pm on May 14 to 7 am the next morning, and also on June 3 and June 4.

A resident surnamed Xie said her family could not sleep even with the curtains drawn. "My house and the whole community turned bright red. An electrician speculated the light was at least 500 watts at my home," she said.

Xie also questioned the three complaints the Hong Kong police said they had received. "Many neighbors have called the authority since the first test. How could they have only received three?"

"This case will be solved more efficiently if it is handed over to the Shenzhen government," said Liu Xuebin, a lawyer from the Shenzhen-based Jinzhuoyue law firm, adding that it is not the first case of its kind between Shenzhen and Hong Kong, although on the previous occasion, the light was shining from the Shenzhen side.

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