DRUG treatment centres run by religious groups have won a protracted battle for government funds, with multimillion-dollar subsidies to start next year. But several centres have rejected the breakthrough offer as paltry and demanded 'reasonable' levels of funding. Social Welfare officers and Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN) members yesterday revealed $10 million had been earmarked in 1997-98 for centres which were being evaluated. It will be the first direct aid since the territory's first religious drug treatment agency was set up in 1968. The Government had excluded the organisations from the subvention system, arguing they promoted religion. ACAN treatment and rehabilitation committee chairman Professor Lee Shiu-hung said evaluations on all nine Christian therapeutic agencies would be completed by the end of the year. 'The evaluation is to find out their purposes, methods and the effectiveness of their services,' he said. 'The Government is prepared to include them in the subvention system if the results are positive.' Professor Lee said seven agencies had promised to take part in the evaluation and he hoped the other two would soon join. But the Christian Zheng Sheng Association and Christian Wu Oi Centre said they would reject government evaluators. And the Drug Addict Counselling and Rehabilitation Services' Enchi Lodge denied it was among facilities being evaluated. Centre superintendent Eric Siu Yat-ping said he welcomed officers and the public to visit the lodge. 'But we are not going to join the evaluation, and we are not going to receive any subvention from the Government even if it finds we are good performers,' he said. 'The Government has not shown any sincerity in helping us.' The Christian Zheng Sheng Association's Jacob Lam Hay-sing laughed off the subsidies. 'Can any officers from the Government tell us how nine agencies offering more than 500 residential places to drug addicts are expected to share $10 million?' he said. 'We are not beggars. We are offering services to drug addicts. We demand reasonable funding.' Private donations funded more than 500 of the 800 drug-rehabilitation residential places in Hong Kong offered by religious groups, he said. Professor Lee and ACAN members yesterday visited Operation Dawn's Island Centre in Sai Kung, where 65 male drug addicts are receiving treatment. The addicts spend a year in the centre to break their addiction through prayer and counselling.