A team of 33 specially trained police sergeants will visit every secondary school in Hong Kong next month in an attempt to end the growing problem of triad infiltration. The first large-scale initiative of its type is part of Police Commissioner Tsang Yam-pui's promise to solve the problem of rising youth crime in the SAR. Apart from targeting triads, the team also will counsel problem students - especially those involved with drugs. Senior Superintendent Alan San Sik-ming said the response from school principals was generally positive. He said letters of invitation, asking principals to join the new Enhanced School Liaison Programme, were sent to about 500 secondary schools across the territory. The sergeants were hand-picked from different districts by each police community relations officer to undergo a week-long training course for a continuing role in schools. The course includes holding talks with officials from the Education Department, social workers and school principals, plus a course in effective presentation. 'In view of growing juvenile crime, the force felt it was necessary to set up these school liaison posts to educate our young people,' Mr San said. Last Sunday police said they had crippled the Sun Yee On triad group's 'recruitment agency', operating in schools in Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O, after 15 teenagers were arrested. Police said they had heard that the Sun Yee On was forcing students in the two districts to join the triad society and was planning a major recruitment drive when the new school term starts tomorrow. The gang's recruitment drive came to light several months ago when six students in Tseung Kwan O reported that they were approached and forced to pay a fee to join the Sun Yee On and Luen Hing triad societies. Arrests involving children between the ages of seven and 15 rose from 5,486 in 1999 to 6,229 last year, with a considerable rise in the number of arrests for serious drug and triad offences. In 1999 police arrested seven youths for drug trafficking and 20 for possession of drugs, compared with five and 27 respectively last year. Two youths were arrested last year for manufacturing dangerous drugs. Although there were only six more young people arrested last year for unlawful triad offences, compared with 234 arrests in 1999, police felt the problem was worsening. Mr San said that to tackle the problem of triads, police needed full co-operation from school principals. He called on principals to immediately inform liaison police if there was a problem. Mr San admitted that after next month's special visits the workload of liaison sergeants would be heavy, since each had to oversee 15 schools. This meant they could visit only one school every two weeks, unless there was a particular problem. Besides providing counselling, the sergeants would give seminars to teachers and students and, if necessary, to parent associations. Most principals welcomed the police move, saying a full-time officer was needed to counsel students. Some doubted the effectiveness of the programme when the workload of any one officer would be substantial. The chairman of the Sai Kung District Principals' Association, Paul Yau Yat-heem, said schools in new towns would be most in need of assistance.