Currently, there are more than 10 officers of South Asian descent serving in the Hong Kong Police Force, including Ifzal Zaffar, an ethnic Pakistani who was born and raised in Hong Kong. Since he was little, Zaffar looked up to police officers as very mighty figures, so he decided to join the Force after graduating from secondary school. To do so, he enrolled on the Diploma Yi Jin programme for disciplined services and even participated in “Project Gemstone” set up for non-ethnic Chinese (NEC) members of the Junior Police Call to elevate his proficiency in Chinese. In 2015, he applied to join the Force and was accepted at his first attempt.
As a Muslim, Zaffar admitted that he had to adjust some of his cultural practices upon joining the Force. He said, “When training as a cadet, the Police College would arrange for suitable locations for me to offer my prayers in the evenings after my training sessions. After passing out from the Police College, I have to patrol everywhere and handle emergencies, making it rather difficult for me to find suitable spots at specific times to offer my prayers. Therefore, I choose to do so during my days off to make up for it.”
Muslims shun pork in their diet, and the only type of meat they consume is halal meat. Therefore, when Zaffar has meals on his working days, he only eats food allowed by his religion. This year, Ramadan began on April 13 and will end on May 12. Since Muslims need to fast from dawn to sunset every day throughout Ramadan, Zaffar undergoes rigorous fitness training to equip himself, so he can discharge his daily duties as usual while strictly adhering to the fasting rules.
Zaffar said, “My non-ethnic Chinese face has worked to my advantage when I execute certain missions, such as posing as a tourist in order to crack down on taxi drivers who charge their passengers exorbitant fares. So far, the success rate of my ‘sting operations’ has been 100 percent.” According to Zaffar, NEC members of the Force who know different dialects have become a bridge of communication between the Force and persons from the NEC community. He said, “Communicating with NEC persons by using their dialects makes it easier to obtain information from them. When we encounter those who are emotional, we can calm them down easily even if we only speak with them over the phone.”
Zaffar was stationed at units such as the Police Tactical Unit and District Special Duties Squad previously. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, he was posted to the airport to explain quarantine regulations and offer assistance to Indian and Pakistani inbound tourists. Earlier, the Government had designated “restricted areas” for conducting mandatory COVID-19 tests, and Zaffar was deployed to areas inhabited by NEC persons to not only explain the measure to them, but also make leave applications to their employers in Cantonese on their behalf. Zaffar stressed that his aspiration to join the Force has been fuelled by his desire to help members of the public, especially NEC persons in need. As a “Project Gemstone” tutor, Zaffar is currently paying it forward by helping NEC youngsters fulfil their dreams of becoming police officers.
Members of OffBeat Editorial Committee:
|Mr Kenneth Kwok||CSP PPRB (Chairperson)|
|Mr Leung Chung-man||SSP MLC PPRB|
|Ms Jessica Wong||PIO PP PPRB|
|Ms Phoebe Leung||IP MR 1 PPRB|
|Ms Pat Wong||TSRO HKI|
|Ms Rachel Lau||TSRO KW|
|Ms Grace Mak||TSRO NTS|
|Mr Marco Chan||ATSRO NTN|
|Ms Phyllis Yeung||CIP A&S HKPC (Ag)|
|Mr Ma Tak-hung||JPOA REP|
|Editor:||Ivy Leung: 2860-6171|
|Reporters:||Nicole Yim: 2860-6172
Cynthia Tse: 2860-6131
|Photographers:||Hugo Lam: 2860-6174
Lam Yu-san: 2860-6175
|Address:||10/F, Arsenal House, Police Headquarters,
No.1 Arsenal Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
|Deadline for Issue 1184:||May 6, 2021 (before 6pm)
|Deadline for Issue 1185:||May 18, 2021 (before 6pm)
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Published by the Police Public Relations Branch, Hong Kong Police Force