Security guards' jobs at risk as deadline looms
Legislators will today discuss extending the deadline on applications for security guard permits amid fears that up to 100,000 elderly watchmen may lose their jobs.
But it is unlikely the original June 1 cut-off date, which has been widely advertised on television and radio, will change. The Government is considering increasing staffing to cope with a late rush of applications.
Legislative Councillor Chan Kam-lam has proposed a private member's bill to defer the deadline by six months to December 1, claiming more needs to be explained to elderly watchmen, who think they have little hope of qualifying under the new licensing scheme.
Under the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance, which aims to raise standards of security guards, older permit holders have to pass a physical and there are age limits for those working in shopping malls and car-parks.
But holders of the older watchmen permits are to be given five years' grace before having to switch to new permits.
But Mr Chan estimates there are up to 100,000 older watchmen, in low-key jobs, who do not have permits. If they apply before June 1, they would also qualify for the grace period.
He said: 'Most of these watchmen work in single block buildings. They don't understand the new regulations, so we have to explain them.
'They are worried about applying for any kind of permit because their health is not good or they are old.' Panel vice-chairman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said: 'Ample opportunity has been given. Mr Chan will have to present a strong case to undo something Legco has agreed.'