HK correctional officer is first woman in Asia-Pac challenge

Officers from Changi Prison's Cluster A (left) in one of the events at the challenge. The team came in second overall. Hong Kong's Ms Kwan Hiu Ping (right) trained hard to get into the city's team.
Officers from Changi Prison's Cluster A (above) in one of the events at the challenge. The team came in second overall. Hong Kong's Ms Kwan Hiu Ping trained hard to get into the city's team.ST PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN
Officers from Changi Prison's Cluster A (left) in one of the events at the challenge. The team came in second overall. Hong Kong's Ms Kwan Hiu Ping (right) trained hard to get into the city's team.
Officers from Changi Prison's Cluster A in one of the events at the challenge. The team came in second overall. Hong Kong's Ms Kwan Hiu Ping (above) trained hard to get into the city's team.ST PHOTOS: NG SOR LUAN

Her team is overall champion of this year's Asian Prison Lockdown Challenge

A correctional officer from Hong Kong became the first woman to take part in a competition that tests the skills of elite prison officers from the Asia-Pacific region.

To qualify, Ms Kwan Hiu Ping, 27, pushed herself hard against 30 of her colleagues. She wore gas masks for her runs and used weights to simulate the heavy load that she would be carrying in the Asian Prisons Lockdown Challenge 2018, held in the Changi Prison Complex.

Ms Kwan was eventually picked to be part of a six-member team to represent Hong Kong, which emerged as overall champion yesterday, wresting back the title they last won in 2014.

Singapore Prison Service cluster A and B came in second and third respectively. It entered three teams for the challenge.

The biennial three-day event, organised by the Singapore Prisons Emergency Action Response Force, ended yesterday.

Said Ms Kwan, who has six years of experience in Hong Kong's Correctional Services Department: "No woman had ever participated in this competition before. I wanted to challenge myself to be the first."

Over 70 correctional officers took part in the challenge, where they got the chance to enhance their tactical capabilities, exchange knowledge and benchmark their own skills against others in the region.

Since its launch in 2010, more than 350 participants from 17 countries and territories have taken part in it. The fifth iteration saw the largest number of international attendees to date, with representatives from Indonesia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Sri Lanka participating for the first time.

A total of 57 foreign correctional officers from 10 countries and territories took part in the challenge, which was team-based for the first time.

Ms Kwan was not always one to be associated with brawn.

  • 70

    Number of correctional officers who participated in the challenge.

    57

    Number of foreign correctional officers from 10 countries and territories who took part.

    350

    More than this number of participants from 17 countries and territories have taken part in the challenge since its launch in 2010. 

"I wanted to be a dancer when I was young," she said. But all that changed after she saw a recruitment advertisement for correctional officers.

"It intrigued me as I saw the greater meaning of working not just as a police officer catching criminals, but one who could make a difference to the prisoners' lives through rehabilitation," she said.

The competition included skill-based components, such as marksmanship. There were also tactical demonstrations.

Rehabilitation officer Kelvin Ang, who represented Singapore Prison Service cluster A, said: "Meeting and competing with fellow officers across the region was a great learning experience."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline 'HK correctional officer is first woman in Asia-Pac challenge'. Print Edition | Subscribe