- Muscular men can earn as much as HK$2,000 (US$255) a day
- Security sector is one of few winners despite the city’s economic downturn
Hong Kong needs more security guards, and demand has shot up for sturdily built men with the physique of nightclub bouncers.
Muscular men are commanding a premium, earning as much as HK$2,000 (US$255) a day to be assigned to locations at risk of violence by anti-government protesters. The normal daily rate is HK$700 to HK$800.
The security sector has emerged as one of the few winners in Hong Kong despite the economic downturn, after nearly six months of anti-government protests have resulted in severe damage and vandalism at MTR stations, businesses, banks, shopping centres and universities.
Several security firms told the Post there has been a sharp rise in demand for security guards, and many firms have increased their manpower.
One firm's general manager, who preferred to remain anonymous, said South Asian men with sturdy builds had become especially sought after to work on university campuses.
"Many high-risk corporations such as the MTR and Airport Authority have already employed South Asian security guards, as some of them have worked as bouncers at nightclubs or pubs," he said.
He said some universities had asked specifically for South Asians, but the firm had none left to deploy.
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He said he understood that the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Polytechnic University, which saw some of the worst protest violence recently, had employed South Asian security staff.
A Baptist University source said the university had also hired some South Asian security staff.
The manager said a security guard built like a bouncer could command as much as HK$2,000 a day. Normal full-time guards earn just over HK$17,000 per month.
"Our firm used to employ more than 1,000 security officers. Now we need to provide an extra 200 part-timers for some protest days," he said.
Andy Choi, chief executive officer of security firm IWS Group Holdings, said his firm had doubled its security manpower with an extra 2,000 part-timers.
His clients include big corporations such as the MTR, Chinese firms and several government departments such as the immigration and transport departments.
He said he had not received requests for guards built like bouncers, but added: "There is a real demand for those who are nimble and agile enough to handle some conflict situations."
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Choi said rising demand had resulted in more than a 20 per cent pay rise for recruits. Part-timers hired just for protest days, can earn as much as HK$30,000 a month, or HK$1,000 a day.
King Lam, general manager for City Security, whose clients include Baptist University, said his firm did not source security staff from nightclubs or pubs.
"We conduct our own recruitment exercise and we'll weigh our applicants in accordance with the job requirements, their past experience, abilities and skills," he said.
If an Arnold Schwarzenegger lookalike is deployed at a kindergarten, it will only scare the kidsKing Lam, City Security's general manager
His firm's manpower strength of 3,000 security officers includes South Asian security guards, and some clients have asked for well-built men.
"Some clients now prefer well-built figures as their security staff. Who doesn't? But the deployment of the type of security guards depends on the need and nature of the posting, not their body build," he said.
"If an Arnold Schwarzenegger lookalike is deployed at a kindergarten, it will only scare the kids."
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