Civil servants who worked at the Olympic equestrian events - including those who volunteered - must seek permission to keep the uniforms they wore, despite having been told by the organisers that they can hold on to them. Trade unions who represent them have condemned the decision by the Civil Service Bureau. It cited a rule that permission is needed to keep gifts worth more than HK$1,000. The bureau values the uniforms, made by sportswear giant adidas, at HK$1,300, although the Equestrian Company that ran the events says they have no commercial value - and the workers themselves point out the clothes would not be worth much after being worn constantly for two weeks in steamy summer heat. 'This rule is stupid, totally unnecessary,' Hong Kong Police Inspectors' Association chairman Tony Liu Kit-ming said. Large numbers of police worked on the Olympic events, and others served as volunteers. Ma Ngok, associate professor of government and public administration at Chinese University, said the guideline reflected the rigidity and bureaucracy of the government. The Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games said all Games volunteers could keep the uniform set they wore as a token of appreciation. Each set comprises three short-sleeved T-shirts, one long-sleeved T-shirt, two pairs of trousers, a plastic water bottle, a waist bag, a cap, three pairs of socks, a pair of running shoes and a raincoat. The Civil Service Bureau said souvenirs and gifts offered to a civil servant in his or her official capacity were regarded as advantages, and civil servants who did not obtain approval to keep them might breach the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. Many of the volunteers at the equestrian events last month were civil servants. In addition, hundreds of police officers were provided with a uniform set because they were part of the Games workforce. One officer questioned the government rule, saying his uniform had already been worn for two weeks, was full of sweat and would not be hygienic if he was required to return it.