More people are taking Putonghua proficiency tests but fewer are passing, figures from the Examinations Authority revealed yesterday. The authority said 473 people sat this year's test but only 54.3 per cent passed. The pass rate was a drop from 63.8 per cent in 1994, 72 per cent in 1995 and 64.5 per cent in 1996. Last year the pass rate was 53.7 per cent. Examination officer Jessie Yeung Shuk-har said more people had taken the exam since Hong Kong was returned to China in July last year. Ms Yeung said: 'It's difficult to comment whether the Putonghua level in Hong Kong has declined as we don't know the background of the candidates. We are not sure how many of them are teachers or students. Candidates should receive their result slips by tomorrow. Those who fail to get them can call the authority on 2834 9922, ext. 19.