Lawyers seeking scientific analysis of documents in civil disputes may have to send the work abroad because the Government Laboratory is too busy, laboratory officials say. The Government Laboratory is the only one in Hong Kong that can scientifically analyse handwritten documents for fraud - and it cannot meet demand due to pressure from other government jobs, assistant government chemist Dr Ned Dailly said. The only other laboratories that could analyse Chinese handwriting were in Singapore and Toronto, he said, although there were 'one or two individuals' who offered visual handwriting analysis. 'We are frequently asked to do analysis, even by the United States,' he said. Other private contracts which could not be met included fire investigations, for instance in insurance claims. Magistrates have complained about long delays in getting results of drug analysis before suspects can be sentenced. Last year again saw a record number of tests performed due mainly to: A leap in cases involving methylamphetamine (ice), with 328 cases between January and July, against 219 for the whole of last year; Ecstasy, which saw 15 cases between January and July against eight last year; and cocaine, 45 cases in the first seven months against 34 in 1995; A rise in complaints about bad food - 304 in the first nine months of this year against 168 for the whole of 1995; A jump in the number of dangerous goods submitted by Fire Services, from 2,000 to nearly 5,000 in the first three quarters.