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Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge

All political views welcome, Hong Kong customs official claims in drive to recruit 1,000 staff

Major manpower infusion sought in run-up to cross-boundary projects such as high-speed rail link

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 October, 2017, 7:31am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 October, 2017, 7:31am

Aspiring Hong Kong customs staff will be tested on current affairs knowledge, and not on their political views, the department claimed, as the authority aims to recruit 1,000 personnel by the end of next year to support new boundary-crossing facilities.

The major manpower infusion would strengthen the department’s current contingent of about 6,000 as more employees are needed amid the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and Liantang-Heung Yuen Wai border crossing.

The authority planned to accept new applications year round from Friday to speed along hiring.

Cecilia Tam Pik-ling, commandant of the Customs and Excise Training School, said candidates would be asked about their views and knowledge of livelihood issues, such as housing, education and transport, in group discussions and interviews.

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Tam stressed the judging panel would not set forth an official stance on political views or create model answers for the discussion topics.

“We aim to test the candidates’ communication skills and analytical abilities,” she said. “They should express their own opinions. They also should not monopolise group discussion or be passive listeners.”

We aim to test the candidates’ communication skills ... They should express their own opinions
customs commandant Cecilia Tam Pik-ling

Asked whether candidates would jeopardise their performance by giving views opposing government plans that have sparked controversies – such as jointly locating mainland immigration officials in West Kowloon for the high-speed rail link – Tam said emphatically that would not happen.

The customs official advised applicants to be knowledgeable about the department’s diverse job duties, noting some thought their responsibilities focused on narcotics interdiction.

“Getting us mixed up with the Immigration Department is the most common misconception,” Tam said. “Some applicants think we do passport control.”

“We also protect revenue from dutiable commodities and protect intellectual property rights ... If a candidate thinks we only deter drug trafficking and he or she knows nothing else about our work, we might question their passion.”

Applicants must pass a physical fitness test before entering the group discussion stage.

New recruits undergo 15 weeks of basic training. The department anticipated there would be about 30 applicants for every vacancy.

Customs chief Hermes Tang Yi-hoi said in August he expected more personnel would be needed for the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai Bridge project, which is due to be completed by the end of this year.

The HK$84.4 billion rail link is expected to open in the third quarter of next year, while the border control point between Liantang, Shenzhen, and Heung Yuen Wai in the New Territories is expected to be ready by the end of 2018.