A total of 180 jobs in the fire and ambulance services were oversubscribed three times on the first day of a 12-day application period yesterday. By 4 pm, the Fire Service Department had received 25 applications for station officers, 300 for firemen and 239 for ambulancemen. The rush came despite cuts in new recruits' pay by the Civil Services Bureau last year. The drop in starting salary is the greatest for station officers, which has been cut by at least 15.6 per cent. For firemen and ambulancemen, pay has been cut by 2.74 per cent. Last year, some 4,160 people responded when the Fire Services Department offered 60 jobs. A department spokesman said: 'It's still the first day for the applications. The deadline is July 21. There are still many days to go.' The spokesman said although 90 per cent of applicants last year had only Form Five education level, there was a trend for an increasing number of applicants with higher education. Chung Kuk-yee, a 23-year-old mechanic who applied for a position in the ambulance service, said he was not motivated by salary. 'The salary I get right now is much higher then the starting salary of an ambulanceman,' he said. 'I have applied for the job because I like helping people.' Angela Kwok, 21, a university graduate from the University of Science and Technology, said the salary was very attractive when compared with other jobs. 'Many friends of mine at university can only get $7,000 to $8,000 starting salary. So I really don't mind the salary for the ambulancemen being cut. I am actually very satisfied with the amount being offered,' she said. Ms Kwok said she did not think being a woman would be a disadvantage in the job. However, the number of successful female applicants has always been low. In 1998, only one female was recruited from 1,368 applications. The Fire Services Department Staff General Association said more people were expected to apply during the recruitment drive. 'The drive has coincided with the release of results from the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, so those who have not done as well as expected may want to try their luck here,' chairman Yuen Fong-him said.