With a flexible schedule, many university students take up part-time jobs to earn some extra money and gain work experience. While most work as tutors or exhibition helpers, Ingrid Lau Yuen-kwan's job involves the use of batons and guns - she is an auxiliary officer with the Hong Kong Police Force. Hong Kong has about 3,800 auxiliary officers who provide backup during large-scale events. Since 2003, the auxiliary police force has been recruiting an average of 65 university students each year. Ms Lau is one of the lucky few who has been awarded a police badge after passing all the written and physical tests. 'Being an auxiliary policewoman has broadened my horizons. I was trained to manage a crowd and deal with contingencies. I even got the chance to appear in the TV programme Police Report,' said the Year Three social science student from Lingnan University. Ms Lau, who joined the police last June, has no problem juggling her duties as a law-enforcement officer and student. Her police work has never hindered her studies, she said. 'You only need to fulfil 96 hours of patrol duty a year. I work on my off days. If you manage your time well, it will never interfere with your studies,' said Ms Lau, who patrols Tsuen Wan. But the 23-year-old admitted that it wasn't plain sailing all the time. She was one of the few trainees at the police academy who failed to fire their first shot at the shooting range. 'It was so embarrassing. I used all my force to pull the trigger but nothing happened. It turned out that my index finger was not strong enough to move the trigger. I wanted to strengthen my index finger so I used it to carry grocery bags,' Ms Lau said. Chau Kam-yan, a Lingnan graduate who is still in the auxiliary police force, came up with her own technique to strengthen her index finger. 'You need a 15-pound force to pull a trigger. Girls usually have difficulties at the beginning. When I stand on a bus or train, I hook my index finger around the loop dangling from the pole and let it carry my weight,' said Ms Chau, also 23. She plans to quit her present job and become a full-time policewoman in the near future. Athena Wong Cheuk-ying, another Lingnan graduate, found her true calling after joining a police mentoring programme at university. She joined the police force full-time six months ago, soon after graduation. Ms Wong, who works in the Mong Kok division, has always wanted to join the force. 'When I was young, I watched a lot of police dramas. The policemen on TV were brave heroes who would do everything to catch villains. I always wanted to be one of them,' said the 23-year-old who topped her class at the police academy. Although Ms Wong has yet to come face to face with big-time criminals, she has handled aggressive people during her patrols. 'I always get booed by drivers when I give them parking tickets. Some of them curse me as they drive away. I don't get angry. I tell myself I've just added another HK$500 to the coffers,' she said.