The Chinese names of at least four Hong Kong streets that contain a derogatory term for Pakistanis and Indians will remain unchanged unless there is an outcry from Hongkongers and the Central and Western District Council. The Lands Department said in an e-mail that any renaming of streets could only proceed if there was 'strong support' from the local community and the relevant district council. The Sunday Morning Post reported last week that some Hongkongers want the Chinese names of Mosque Street and Mosque Junction in SoHo, along with Upper Lascar Row and Lower Lascar Row in Sheung Wan, to be changed because they contain a derogatory term. Each street, they said, starts with the Cantonese term 'Mo Lo', which derives from 'Mo Lo Cha', a derogatory Cantonese expression for Indians and Pakistanis in Hong Kong. Keran Hayat, 21, a Hongkonger of Pakistani descent, favours the street name changes, but said that many people in the Indian and Pakistani community were not aware of the meanings of the street names. She said she had spoken with family members about the problem and would e-mail friends to 'see if people agree or not'. Ali Ghazanfar, the Hongkonger who originally raised the matter, has written a letter to the Lands Department, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the district council. 'If they consider it, okay. If not, forget it,' said Ghazanfar, 63. 'I don't want any trouble. I don't have enough stamina, and I don't want to be the centre of the thing.' The EOC is keeping an eye on the issue - but said that street names were not covered under Hong Kong's new anti-discrimination laws. A Central and Western District Council member is said to be preparing a reply to Sunday Morning Post inquiries. The Lands Department said there must be very good reasons and support for changing the street names as the switch would 'cause inconvenience and difficulties' to residents, businesses and government offices. The department said the English and Chinese names of the four streets were formally recorded in Hong Kong's Street Index as early as 1903. While the English and Chinese names of Mosque Street and Mosque Junction were officially gazetted in the late 1950s, no gazetting record had been found for Upper Lascar Row. The only gazetting record found for Lower Lascar Row was in a 1977 notice for a 'revised description of the [street] alignment', the department said. Even if a street name had not been gazetted, 'the proposal to change the street name has to undergo ... public consultation, including publishing a notice in the gazette and posting the gazette notice in prominent places to see if there are objections'.