How our convicts are put through their paces - unicycling, fashion designing and skipping rope

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2002, 12:00am

The talents of prison inmates - ranging from unicycling and dragon dancing to rope skipping and fashion designing - were given full flight last night in a variety performance which cost $430,000 of public money to stage.

More than 130 inmates took part in the show at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai. An invited audience of 2,000 community leaders, prison officials and family members watched.

'The show aimed to demonstrate the inmates' talents and potential in various fields,' a spokesman for the Correctional Services Department said, adding it was hoped the show could generate community support for discharged prisoners, allowing them to re-integrate into society more easily.

The spokesman defended the decision to splash out on the show at a time when the government is supposed to be cutting costs.

He said the event had combined some annual competitions and activities for inmates which had been held separately in the past.

The cost of the show included use of musical and lighting equipment, stage design and construction and the hiring of models who wore clothes designed by inmates for a competition.

The spokesman said it was the third year the department had organised a fashion design competition for convicts.

Professional models had previously also been hired to wear the clothes, he said.

The inmates from seven penal institutions also played jazz music, marched, sang and danced.

The show also included an appearance by quiz show host Ken Chan Kai-tai and actor Stephen Ma Chun-wai.

Officiating guests at the show included Commissioner of Correctional Services Benny Ng Ching-kwok, president of the China Prison Society Jin Jian and other overseas prison officials who were in Hong Kong to attend an international conference on rehabilitation.