AS Hong Kong's 60,000 scouts trek their way across the territory, most remain oblivious to the controversy which has wound its way up the trail to Government House. Chief Scout Chris Patten, who also works as the Governor, probably had little knowledge of the upset which would follow his rubber-stamping of the appointment of the new Chief Commissioner of the Scout Association through the government gazette. Perhaps he didn't even notice that the ''new'' commissioner, Chau Cham-son, had already served eight years in the post. Having served one term, he was re-appointed on January 1, 1989, and again appointed to the job in June. The fact that Mr Chau had already served almost a decade in the position was technically not a problem. The Scout Constitution states that a Chief Commissioner should not serve a third term without a break, but the position had been vacant for some time. Deputy Chief Commissioner Kenneth Lo Koon-wing had acted as Chief Commissioner for six months before the selection board again recommended Mr Chau for the job. Chief Scout Patten approved the recommendation through the gazette on June 18. The Scout Association has denied Mr Chau's return could be called a re-appointment, and said he was chosen as the best man for the job. However, legislator Roger Luk Koon-ho, threw down the gauntlet in a letter to the South China Morning Post on July 31, and is waiting for a response to a letter he later sent to the Chief Secretary Sir David Ford. Mr Luk stressed he was not challenging Mr Chau personally. But he questioned whether Mr Chau's return conformed to the scouting spirit and philosophy. He said the wording in the association's constitution might be vague, but the original intention was indisputable. ''Scouting is a movement, which is dynamic. The constitution states nobody can serve more than two terms in a row so as to let different people work for the association.'' Assistant Chief Commissioner Mr Lo Yan-shing, who is also a member of the selection board, defended the selection by saying continuity of leadership ensured stability and progress. ''The association needs his participation,'' he said. ''I think the comments in the letter [by Roger Luk] were too harsh. It is not an easy job to be the Chief Commissioner.'' Mr Chau told the South China Morning Post : ''The argument has passed. Young men always fail to think deeply. It is meaningless to discuss it. ''The appointment was gazetted and made by the Chief Scout, the Governor. Do you think the Governor is stupid?''