An Indian-origin man has joined the ranks of Hong Kong Police, benefiting from a project that helps non-ethnic Chinese (NEC) people acquire local language skills.
Gimandeep Singh, 22, has successfully enrolled as a police constable after passing both Chinese and English written tests, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The Hong Kong-born Indian credits his milestone to Project Gemstone, an initiative launched by the police in February 2013 to enable NEC aspirants overcome language barriers and widen their career choices.
By providing regular Chinese language classes, Project Gemstone — which was spearheaded by the Yau Tsim Police District — has helped Singh achieve his goal, the new policeman acknowledges.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Singh said he was able to speak fluent Cantonese but had a lot of difficulty when it came to writing and reading Chinese.
Following the recommendation of some friends, he joined Project Gemstone for two years to overcome the language hurdles.
He says now that he gained a lot from the program. The classes and course material are practical in design as they use real life situations as examples in teaching the students, says Singh.
Serving for two years as an auxiliary police constable, Singh says he had tried to interact with citizens in Cantonese while on duty patrolling in the streets.
Assistant District Commander (Administration) of Yau Tsim Police District Mohammad Munir Khan, who is a Pakistani, told Apple Daily in an interview that 175 youngsters have so far taken part in Project Gemstone.
Of those participants, eight have joined the police force, while one person joined the Fire Services and another individual joined the Correctional Services department.
To ensure an integrated society and to provide better services, the police have joined hands with a non-governmental organization, Centre for Harmony and Enhancement of Ethnic Minority Residents (CHEER), to launch another program called Project Translink.
The program enables instant interpretation services through teleconferencing, helping ethnic minorities who need language assistance at police reporting rooms.
First launched in November 2014, Translink began in Tsim Sha Tsui, Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po districts of Kowloon West Region where there is a relatively higher population of ethnic minorities.
Starting from last month, the program has been extended to all police reporting rooms and reporting centers with seven NEC language support, namely Urdu, Nepali, Punjabi, Hindi, Bahasa Indonesia, Thai and Tagalog.
Between November 2014 and September 2016, Translink has rendered assistance in a total of 143 cases involving ethnic minority people.
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