Pakistani man makes history by becoming first ethnic minority taxi driver in Hong Kong

For the first time ever, Hong Kong has awarded a taxi driving licence to a non-Chinese resident. It’s slightly unbelievable that it’s even taken this long, but we guess better late than never?

Shehzad Mamood Khan, a 39-year-old Pakistani man, made history last month by becoming Hong Kong’s first – and only cabbie – of non-Chinese ethnicity, according to HK01.

Khan reportedly came to Hong Kong in 1995 but had difficulty finding work here as he “didn’t speak a word of Cantonese”, despite having a mathematics degree from a Pakistani university.

Khan told HK01 that he then found a job as a construction worker, and began to learn Cantonese. He has since been promoted, and now works full time as a scaffolding foreman.

“I am very hard-working. I’ve never considered applying for social welfare,” Khan said.

Despite his current salary being “enough” to provide for his family of six, the 39-year-old sought to supplement his income by driving a taxi part-time.

To qualify as a taxi driver, applicants have to pass a written exam comprising 20 questions on taxi driving regulations, 20 questions about Hong Kong locations, and 100 questions on general traffic regulations. Candidates fail if they answer two questions in either of the first two categories incorrectly, or get more than five questions on general traffic regulations wrong.

According to the organisers of a training programme for non-Chinese residents, most preparatory classes and study materials are provided exclusively in Chinese.

Head of Sun King Taxi Radio Association Chan Ming-sang, who funds the programme, told the SCMP that it took him over a year to convince Hong Kong School of Motoring to provide English-language course materials after his request was declined by three other motor schools, who rejected the idea as difficult and expensive.

Out of eight non-ethnically-Chinese candidates who sat the taxi licence exam, Khan was the only one to pass.

According to Chan, even Chinese candidates often have to sit the taxi licence exam up to four or five times.

For more pictures of a clearly ecstatic Khan and his proud family, go to HK01.

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