More South Asian recruits are needed to deal with an expected increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities being jailed, according to the most senior non-Chinese prison officer. 'I see a trend of increasing numbers of minorities being sent into our institutions, but the number of [South Asian] officers is dropping,' Senior Superintendent Ahmed Hussain, a Hong Kong-born Pakistani, said as he prepared to begin four months' pre-retirement leave. 'This will handicap our work in managing our institutions.' The father of two grown-up sons, who joined the department in 1976, Hussain is one of 47 non-Chinese officers. Hussain - a fluent Cantonese speaker - called for people from ethnic minority communities to join the Correctional Services Department to do rehabilitation work and make a contribution to the community. The police force and the department relaxed their language requirements last year in the hope of attracting more South Asian candidates. The inability to read or write Chinese well has long been a barrier to recruiting people from ethnic minorities to the seven disciplined services. In August, the department replaced its Chinese written test with a group interview. There are around 1,300 non-Chinese prisoners, and they account for about 14 per cent of inmates. Hussain said his background gave him an advantage in managing prisoners from ethnic minorities. He was instrumental in the removal of a Chinese-language test that had been a bar to promotion for minority officers. In 2009 he was assigned to liaise with about 30 non-Chinese officers who complained about the test, introduced after the handover in 1997, and sought help from legislators. After six months' negotiation, he recommended to the commissioner that the test be abolished. It was cancelled in 2010. Another rule was cancelled during his career, but too late to prevent his Chinese wife from quitting the department. They met at training school in 1976 when they were both cadets but she resigned after they married because of a prohibition on marriage among staff members. The ban was abolished two years later. Hussain, whose last posting was as head of the Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre in Tuen Mun, will spend his retirement in Britain with his two sons. He will become a grandfather next month.