But dwindling HK team in Phuket determined to continue its grim tasks Police and immigration officers in Phuket are losing their race against time to find Hong Kong people still listed as missing from the tsunami disaster and admit the chances of finding anyone alive are slim. Despite unsuccessful efforts to trace anyone after sifting through damaged hotel rooms and scanning hospital admission lists - and a decision to scale back the size of the team - the remaining officials said they would not give up. 'As with every case, we try to get as much information as possible,' said one police officer, who has been checking the December 26 guest lists at hotels on the coast. 'But eventually there will come a day when the information stops. We are doing our best. But there is certainly an amount of difficulty because of the restrictive environment here.' The team searched 52 hotels in Phuket yesterday. An immigration officer said it was anybody's guess whether any of the missing would be found alive, but the chance was remote. The Thai government has begun setting up a database of DNA samples of the dead and from relatives of the missing. The Hong Kong police have encouraged other families with missing relatives to deposit their DNA samples with local authorities rather than travel to Thailand. But there has been no official word on how long it would take to match recovered bodies with samples. Fifty-seven officers from the government team on Phuket returned home yesterday after the Security Bureau decided to reduce its manpower. More officers will be leaving today. Speaking on his arrival back in Hong Kong, Chief Inspector Eddie Wai Mu-lam said his search and rescue mission had been a success. 'We have located the belongings of victims and helped some families,' he said. Those who left included 16 police officers and 21 immigration officers. The rest of the departing staff included those from the Auxiliary Medical Services, Civil Aid Service, Hospital Authority and Social Welfare Department. Linda So Ka-pik, principal assistant secretary of security, said that with a smaller staff, immigration officers would no longer be stationed at the six Phuket hospitals, except one where a 14-year-old Hong Kong girl was being treated. They also would double check the names of patients still being treated to see if there were foreign-passport holders who were also Hong Kong residents. There are now 116 Hong Kong officers in Phuket, but they are limited in what they can do. The Thai authorities announced that foreigners, including the Hong Kong police, would not be allowed into sites housing the dead. Philip Wong Pak-nin, chief superintendent of police and the highest ranking Hong Kong police officer in Phuket, said his team would continue to check every hotel on the west coast of the island. But he declined to disclose what else they would do.