Police open doors to ethnic minorities

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2011, 12:00am


Police have approached an ethnic minority group for potential recruits as police constables in an effort to draw more crime-fighters from the South Asian community.

And a Hong Kong-born Pakistani may soon start work with another of the disciplined services - the first South Asian to do so since the handover - after passing all the recruitment examinations. He is waiting for an offer to become an assistant prison officer.

The police and the Correctional Services Department recently relaxed their language requirements in the hopes of engaging more South Asian candidates. The inability to read or write Chinese well has long been a barrier to hiring minorities in the seven disciplined services.

Hong Kong Unison, which campaigns for the rights of minorities, said it has been in talks with the force about recruitment of police constables and that the police approached them in June about hiring.

'The woman from the recruitment division called in and said she had a mission from the management that the force had to hire some ethnic minorities,' said Milk Tsang Miu-wah, a social worker from Unison.

Unison invited a retired officer to train half a dozen people from ethnic minorities for a police recruitment interview in the hopes of attracting South Asians on to the force.

A police officer responsible for recruitment denied, however, that there was any such 'ethnic minorities' mission. It was always part of the department's recruitment strategies to draw from different parts of the community, including ethnic minority groups, the officer said.

In May, however, the police made changes to the force's recruitment policy for constables by giving extra points to applicants who were able to demonstrate speaking and writing skills in one of eight foreign languages. The languages are Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Tagalog, French, German, Japanese and Korean.

In addition, candidates who fail the HKCEE Chinese examination are now being allowed to take a more practical government-standard examination in the language. In August, the Correctional Services Department replaced its Chinese written test with a group interview.

The force had earlier hired Faisal Abdul, who is of mixed Pakistani and Chinese heritage, to patrol in Yuen Long, a district with a mix of locals and members of ethnic minorities. Unison's Tsang said his recruitment was not surprising. 'Many ethnic minorites regard him as a local Chinese,' she said.

Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung last week revealed plans to expand a pilot scheme to improve communications with ethnic minority communities. It will grow from five to 13 districts by hiring eight more South Asians as community liaison officers.