25 · Through thick and thin | Fighting drugs on front line: Shirley Wu vows to guard the 'southern gate' of country
Born in November 1997, Shirley Wu is now a Probationary Inspector of the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.
It has always been Shirley's dream to become a member of the disciplined services. When she was a child, she saw officers in uniform on various occasions, and she naturally aspired to be one of them. After graduating from secondary school, Shirley enrolled in the City University of Hong Kong, where she studied Applied Biology.
As a biology student, through a series of theoretical studies and research, Wu gained a deep understanding of the harmful effects of drugs on the human body, and she began to pay attention to news reports on drug enforcement. The Customs and Excise Department is responsible for stopping the flow of drugs and controlled substances into the city, which is right up Shirley's alley.
However, the social turbulence in 2019 has caused many young people to have misconceptions about the disciplined services, but Shirley has never wavered from her chosen path. She said her family and friends were supportive of her application, and her friends who had already joined the Department would often share their daily work with her.
To join the disciplinary forces, one must first pass a physical fitness test. Wu, who has always been a gym-goer, said she was lucky to pass the test in one go as she was a member of the dragon boat team at university and she had been working out every day since she decided to take the test.
The entire selection process takes about six months and candidates have to overcome five hurdles to reach the final interview, which Shirley described as the most challenging part for her. The examiners generally asked a wide range of questions, including those on current affairs and scenario questions.
"I watched the news every day to keep up with the latest information and studied on the Customs and Excise Department website," she recalled. And she finally became one of the 43 people who were recruited.
In October 2021, after a 31-week residential training at the Customs and Excise Department, Shirley was assigned to the Postal Clearance Division of the Airport Command. Stationed at the Air Mail Centre, Wu is responsible for inspecting parcels of mail entering and leaving HK. With a background in biology, Shirley is able to handle controlled chemicals with ease and can quickly identify different types of drugs.
As one of the world's busiest international cargo airports, Hong Kong International Airport has remained resilient despite the epidemic, with 5 million tonnes of cargo handled last year. Although the work at the Air Mail Centre is quite tough, Wu never regrets her decision. "This is my way of contributing to the prosperity and stability of HK practically," she said.
Aged 25, Shirley has grown up with together the HK SAR. She said HK people have a can-do spirit, as they have been working hard for 25 years since the handover and have taken advantage of the opportunities brought by the country's development to achieve remarkable results in economic and cultural aspects.
"In the future, I hope I can continue to be a good 'gatekeeper' through hard work and protect the interests of the city and its people."