Updated at 7.04pm: Hong Kong may relax its recruitment freeze on civil service jobs over the coming two years, Secretary for the Civil Service Joseph Wong Wing-ping said on Monday. Speaking on local radio, Mr Wong said new staff were needed to cope with an increasing workload and to fill the posts left vacant as a result of retirements or resignations. ?We will continue to maintain a general recruitment freeze on the whole of the civil service but we will consider relaxing the freeze perhaps for a slightly larger number of civil service ranks and grades,? he said. Mr Wong said 12 directorate posts and about 1,000 non-directorate posts would be created over the coming two years. The new posts would include executive officers, police officers and food hygiene inspectors. ?This is really to anticipate and to meet an increasing unexpected demand, in some areas such as food safety, for new services,? he explained. In recent years, Hong Kong has had to reduce the size of the civil service and salaries of its staff. This is because the territory faced a large fiscal deficit ? brought about partly by a blow-out in civil service salaries in the 1990s. In April 2003, the government announced a across-the-board recruitment freeze in a bid to reduce the number of civil service staff by 10 per cent to around 160,000 by 2006/07. It had also launched voluntary retirement schemes to help trim its spending on civil service posts.