A complaint that police abused the ambulance service yesterday by asking for two ambulances to take a pair of suspected thieves with minor injuries to hospital is being investigated. The complaint, to the Fire Services Department, which the ambulance service comes under, was lodged by the team leader of three paramedics from one of the two ambulances. The ambulances were taking the two mainlanders, aged 34 and 45, from Tin Shui Wai police station to Tuen Mun Hospital. The men were arrested after they were found sneaking into a recycling plant in Ping Ha Road, Tin Shui Wai, at about 1.30am. No property was stolen in the incident. The older man suffered minor leg injuries and the younger slight injuries to his right hand. It is not known how they were injured. Just after 3am, police asked for an ambulance to take one of the injured to hospital. The first ambulance arrived at the police station in two minutes. Before it left, police asked for another to take the other injured man to hospital. The team leader from the first ambulance contacted the department's control room, accusing police of abusing the ambulance service and demanding an official record of his accusation. However, the department sent a second ambulance to the police station at 3.38am. Both men were taken to Tuen Mun Hospital. A Fire Services Department spokesman said it had launched an investigation into the alleged abuse of the ambulance service. Wat Ki-on, chairman of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department Ambulancemen's Union, said: 'Our service has been overstretched. Any abuse will affect our service in handling emergencies. 'At worst, it could put lives of people experiencing life-and-death situations at risk.' He said there had been a long-standing problem over the alleged abuse of the ambulance service by police. The union had expressed dissatisfaction over the problem to the Fire Services Department for many years. Wat, who is also a paramedic, recalled one assault case in which six ambulances were sent at the request of police to deal with minor injuries. He said the union would discuss the problem when meeting deputy director of the Fire Services Department Chan Chor-kam later this month. A police spokesman said accomplices in a case should be separated whenever possible to prevent them from making up statements. This was why police sent the pair arrested to Tin Shui Wai police station in different police vehicles. Officers later found they needed hospital treatment and called for two ambulances for the same reason. He said the officer in charge of a case or the duty officer in charge of a police station could request ambulances according to the situation.