We are celebrating the inauguration of the WCO (World Customs Organization) Regional Dog Training Centre in Hong Kong.

And my congratulations to Hong Kong Customs for its accreditation by the WCO as one of now five Regional Dog Training Centres in the Asia-Pacific region. This status strengthens Hong Kong Customs' collaboration with neighbouring customs administrations.

I am proud to add that this affirms the (Customs & Excise) Department's international standing in canine training.

As a WCO member since 1987, Hong Kong Customs has long participated in WCO activities and events and helped promote co-operation among Asia-Pacific region members.

Indeed, it was some 20 years ago that Hong Kong Customs established a regional training centre.

Last year, Customs was elected the Asia-Pacific region's next WCO Vice-Chairperson for the term of 2024 to 2026. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the second time the department has taken on this important role. It speaks clearly of Hong Kong Customs' endeavours to work with its Asia-Pacific members - and the WCO at large.

Today, we mark another important initiative from Hong Kong Customs - the setting up of a WCO Regional Dog Training Centre. This new milestone, once again, demonstrates Hong Kong Customs' commitment to the WCO's canine programme.

The dog training centre is located at the Hong Kong Port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao-Bridge, on an artificial island which is about a 15-minute drive from here.

The 55-kilometre Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is the longest bridge-and-tunnel sea crossing in the world. No less important, it is a strategic development that connects Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

A bridge not too far

Now, it is also home to the WCO Regional Dog Training Centre. I think we can say it "bridges" - brings together - Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and the rest of the world.

Hong Kong Customs first opened the Hong Kong Regional Dog Training Centre in 2018. Under its own breeding programme, the centre has nurtured 28 puppies in four litters, and trained 27 dogs and their handlers, so far.

In 2021, the centre's Drugs Detector Dog Handling Training Programme was accredited with Qualifications Framework Level 4 by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic & Vocational Qualifications.  

A year later, the centre pioneered the development and application of smart collars on canines, enhancing their operational and enforcement effectiveness.

And now, with the WCO Regional Dog Training Centre, Hong Kong Customs will take up greater responsibility for canine enforcement and professionalism in the Asia-Pacific region.

Taking on a leading role in the sharing of good practices and experiences, and in expanding collaboration with our regional counterparts, we look forward to safeguarding security in Hong Kong and throughout the region.

Chief Secretary Chan Kwok-ki gave these remarks at the inauguration ceremony of World Customs Organization Regional Dog Training Centre on March 6.


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