Mary Leung Po-ching is used to dealing with a crisis. The police communications officer takes emergency calls at the Hong Kong Regional Command and Control Centre at Police Headquarters in Wan Chai. One of only two disabled workers who answer 999 calls, she has held her demanding job for 18 years. The dedicated single woman says her physical condition poses no disadvantage in the job and she intends to keep going until she reaches retirement. What's on your mind? I have to make sure I'm in top condition every day when I come to work. I can't miss any calls. Why did you choose this job? A friend of mine told me there was a job vacancy. I started on September 1, 1978. I had no idea what I'd be required to do and I just took it and attended a few days of training. The salary was about $1,000 back then, compared with the maximum salary of $19,530 for the post now. This is my second job after graduating from Form Five. I took up my first job as a receptionist at the Adventist Hospital in 1977. What has made you to stay in the job for 18 years? It's challenging and gives me satisfaction. And, of course, the salary is okay. It's challenging because I have to deal with people in emergency situations and I can help victims. I've taken calls reporting armed robberies and accidents. Sometimes when children call they're too frightened and hang up before we get all the necessary information. We then have to hold their line and track where they were calling from. What's your workload like today compared with when you started this job? There are many more calls a day than before. People are more knowledgeable in general and they know their rights. They are more likely to call the police. There are many reports of fighting, but we find out afterwards that the 'fights' are over the use of toilets, choice of TV channels or arguments between couples. Do many people abuse the 999 service? How do you deal with these callers? We have to take every call seriously. I've had reports of armed robberies - some were true and some weren't - but we usually deal with all these calls in a serious manner. But if I catch children playing tricks, I tell them not to phone again. Sometimes callers swear at you; I also give them a warning.