Hong Kong, 24 October 2018: News that the Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association has secured premises to develop a breeding and training centre for dogs has been hailed as a “major step forward” by Boase Cohen & Collins Partner Alex Liu.
The charitable organisation will take over the former Lau Fau Shan Police Station in the New Territories after successfully applying to the Government’s Development Bureau for a subsidised revitalisation project.
“Finding premises for a training centre has been a priority for the HKGDA since it was established more than seven years ago, so this is a major step forward in the overall vision to breed and train guide dogs here in Hong Kong for use by Hong Kong people,” said Mr Liu, who acts as Honorary Legal Advisor to the organisation.
“The site is in a rural location, which makes it ideal for the HKGDA’s requirements. We envisage being able to breed around 40 dogs each year. As well, we intend for it to be interactive with the public, with guided tours and the chance for people to interact with the dogs and learn more about how they are bred and trained.”
Located to the west of Yuen Long and overlooking Shenzhen, the former Lau Fau Shan Police Station was built in 1962 and is a grade three historic building. Originally, it served as an operational base for police to keep a watch on illegal immigration. It has been vacant since 2000 when officers were relocated to the much bigger Tin Shui Wai Police Station.
There are more than 174,000 visually impaired people in Hong Kong – around 2.4% of the population – with estimated demand for a guide dog being around 1,700 persons. Only about 50% of dogs that are trained reach a high enough standard to become actual guide dogs, the others go on to be companion dogs for people with autism or other disabilities or the elderly.
Assisting the HKGDA is just one element of Mr Liu’s large portfolio of work in the community. He has received a prestigious Gold Award under the Law Society of Hong Kong’s Pro Bono and Community Work Recognition Programme for the past four years while, last April, he received a Special Award for his volunteering efforts from the Home Affairs Bureau.