President Xi Jinping tours Hong Kong junior police training camp

As part of his visit to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, the president toured the Junior Police Call camp at Pat Heung

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 12:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 10:02pm

In his first interaction with ordinary Hongkongers since arriving on Thursday, President Xi Jinping visited a training centre for a police youth group on Friday morning.

He arrived at a newly established training camp for the city’s Junior Police Call (JPC) shortly after 11am after visiting the PLA’s Hong Kong garrison at nearby Shek Kong Barracks.

He was briefed by JPC members on the aims of the scheme, its facilities and training efforts.

Xi then watched leadership and physical training sessions and talked with JPC members before posing for a group photo.

At the training camp, Xi told members to obey the law and establish a sense of social responsibility.

“Eat well and grow up fast,” he said to the youngsters. “The future is in your hands ... Choose the right path to serve society, contribute to Hong Kong and contribute to the motherland.”

He was joined on the visit by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok, Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung, Permanent Secretary for Security Joshua Law and Undersecretary for Security John Lee.

Kubi Kwok Wang-hei, 11, is one of the JPC members who met Xi. The boy, dressed in a traffic police uniform, said Xi shook his hand three times, although he did not speak to him.

Kwok said he introduced Xi to the activities in the group, such as learning how to collect fingerprints.

“I felt he was very nice and friendly,” Kwok said. “He was always smiling and it felt really warm shaking hands with him.”

Melody Lo Ho-ying, 12, said Xi also shook hands with her three times. She said she had been preparing an introduction of centre activities to Xi in Putonghua, memorising a script and rehearsing.

“I was a bit nervous that I might forget what to say, but I didn’t,” Lo said.

Hong Kong in 20 graphics since the handover

Daniel Yeung Ka-po, a 24-year-old member, said he found Xi cared about youth development.

“He said there were very few groups in Hong Kong and the mainland which spent as many resources on youth development,” Yeung said. “He said he hoped more young people would participate in knowing more about the daily work of the police.”

At around 8am, three busloads of children arrived at the camp, where they prepared to perform for Xi.

About 200 police officers were deployed around the camp, according to authorities. Xi left the camp just before 12 noon.

Xi is in Hong Kong to join in festivities of the 20th anniversary of the return of the city to Chinese rule after 150 years in British hands.

The Junior Police Call, set up in 1974, organises physical training, volunteering activities and police station tours for youngsters. Its camp in Pat Heung in Yuen Long is an activity centre.

The JPC was set up by Andrew Rennie, then chief police information officer, who wanted to redress a lack of contact between police and youth in the 1970s.

Relations between the police and young people took a dive during the Occupy protests of 2014.

Composed of Hongkongers aged between nine and 25, the group had about 190,000 members at the end of 2016, and 4,097 of them were non-Chinese.

Leung announced the plan to set up the training camp in his policy address last year as part of efforts to step up youth work.

The police said the centre would provide discipline, physical and team-building training for youths to enhance their crime prevention awareness, social responsibility and leadership.

It is equipped with a rope course, a soccer pitch and a rock climbing site.

The outdoor facilities were sponsored by the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association.

On April 2, the centre had a trial opening for students and elderly people to attend rope courses and practice Chinese calligraphy.

The government had scheduled the camp’s launch ceremony in June, but it has yet to take place.