Hong Kong police will adjust fitness test for candidates after nearly 6,000 applications received after earlier easing of standards

Asia World
Hong Kong police will adjust the fitness test for candidates hoping to join the force’s ranks, after receiving nearly 6,000 applications following an earlier relaxation of certain entry requirements to boost recruitment.

The force said 5,952 people had applied to join between April 1 and the end of August, equivalent to 75 per cent of the nearly 8,000 applications it received in the whole of the last financial year. It relaxed physique and language requirements in May.

On Thursday it announced two changes to its fitness tests starting from September 21, including replacing the handgrip strength test with push-ups. To pass the test, men will have to do 13 push-ups in half a minute and women nine.

“The primary purpose of these amendments is to bring convenience to the applicants,” said Superintendent Walter Chan Kit-fung of the force’s recruitment division.

Physical health expert Dr Lobo Louie Hung-tak, an independent consultant for the force, says police had to take into consideration those who would not be able to pass the existing test. Photo: Elson LI

He said that unlike the handgrip test, push-ups could be done anywhere and at any time without equipment, so applicants could easily check whether they met the requirements and more people might be encouraged to apply.

The other change involves shuttle runs, where applicants will be required to touch marking lines on the floor as they turn with their feet rather than with their hands.

Chan said this change would make the transition smoother between the selection process and cadet training, where the recruit’s foot, not hand, had to touch the lines.


“This was done so applicants would not need a continuous transition between the fitness test at the selection process and the fitness test during cadet training,” Chan said.

He dismissed suggestions the recruitment criteria were made easier under the coming change, saying many more muscle groups were engaged for push-ups than the handgrip strength test.

Hong Kong police received ‘4 times as many’ job applications in May than year before

Physical health expert Dr Lobo Louie Hung-tak, an independent consultant for the force, said they had to take into consideration those who would not be able to pass the existing test.

“If the standards are set too high, candidates who are unfit might be injured,” he said.

Louie added the change in the shuttle run would make the selection process safer without sacrificing the test of agility.


Despite the adjustments in the recruitment criteria, Chief Inspector Paul Wong Tak-choi of the Police College stressed the “requirements to graduate from the academy had not changed”.

Recruitment rules were relaxed in May in a bid to tackle a hiring slump, with previous requirements for applicants to be at least 163cm (5.3 feet) tall and weighing 50kg (110lbs) removed. Glasses can also be worn during eye tests under the new rules.


Applicants who failed their Chinese- and English-language subjects in the Diploma of Secondary Education examination will also be given an alternative written test.

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Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung told lawmakers in July that the revised entry requirements had helped attract more applicants.


The number of applicants for positions such as constables increased fourfold in May compared with a year ago, while the figure for inspectors had doubled.

The force had 5,911 unfilled posts in 2022-23, or a vacancy rate of 17.8 per cent, the highest among the disciplined services.

The force aims to hire 240 inspectors and 1,350 constables in 2023-24. The starting salary for a constable, the most junior rank in the force, is about HK$27,000 (US$3,440), and HK$48,000 for an inspector.


Meanwhile, since the launch of a scheme designed to attract Hong Kong students studying in mainland China to apply to the police, 447 applications have been received, with seven cadets now in training.

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Chan added that the selection process could take up to five months and some applications were still being processed.

Police are also offering a mentorship programme, which is open to all full-time students in tertiary education in Hong Kong who meet the academic requirements for applying to the force upon graduation.

Mentees could participate in fitness and interview workshops that help them better equip themselves for applications, and could have the opportunity to be a paid intern in the force with a monthly cheque of HK$11,200.