November 2, 2001

US Shuts HK Consulate Due to Security Concerns

The US Consulate General in Hong Kong said it would be closed on Monday to "assess the current security posture" following last week's terror attacks on the United States.

The announcement, late on Sunday, coincided with the arrest in neighbouring Macau of five Pakistanis after the discovery of documents apparently pointing to plans to attack US targets there and in Hong Kong.

The US consulate, which closed the day after the September 11 terror attacks on the United States but reopened on Thursday and Friday, said in a statement that it would make a decision when to reopen at "a later date".

A Macau government spokesman declined to comment on the arrests there but a government source said that they followed information from the US consulate in Hong Kong.

"According to preliminary investigations, the documents seized appear to contain instructions to attack American targets in Hong Kong and Macau in the case of an

American attack on Afghanistan," the source added.

The US government has named Saudi-born Islamic dissident Osama bin Laden as a prime suspect in the September 11 attacks in which suicide squads flew hijacked airliners into the New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington.

Flowers and candles were laid outside the Hong Kong consulate in memory of those who died in last week's attacks.

(chinadaily.com.cn 09/17/2001)

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