ASIS International – Chapter Focus: Hong Kong

Hong Kong

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Matthew Porcelli, CPP speaks exclusively with Rex Lam, CPP, PSP, Chair, ASIS Hong Kong Chapter.

What are the most pressing security challenges you are facing in your region? 

Frontline personnel shortages coupled with aging populations. Many organisations who have a tight budget are finding it increasingly difficult to hire security guards.

Some cases are reaching 30-40% understaffed, with the night shift being a difficult time slot to fill with personnel.

The hiring issue is further amplified due to higher expectations of clients in areas such as language skills, staff training and customer service.

Hong Kong has rolled out a qualification framework for the security industry.

The framework would facilitate quality and standardised training and it would help the human resource market to match talents with opportunities.

The future possibility of importing workers could help with alleviating the personnel shortage as well.

Security awareness of the public and private enterprises is lacking.

Hong Kong has enjoyed a low crime rate for a long time and thus the mentality is still leaning towards breaking down that sense of complacency.

The recent events of COVID-19, 2019 riots, online crime and mall stabbings have put security on the front page, but the enthusiasm fades as time passes.

It is up to security professionals to present to senior management the true picture regularly in order to gain the resources and attention of the business.

Security managers in Hong Kong often hold regional roles with their line managers residing in faraway time zones such as in Europe or the US.

This wide time zone has put much stress on the manager’s work hours.

The manager may have to hold late night calls with overseas staff while tendering the needs of the local region the following morning.

On top of this, managers may have multiple functions under their management such as physical security, travel, investigation, etc.

To further add to the managers’ challenge, they must travel within their own region which could span from India, China and Japan.

Can you describe your journey in the world of security?

I graduated as a Computer Engineer from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the US and entered the industry as a software engineer developing security software in 2004.

I moved to Hong Kong in 2007, providing security software professional services.

I further worked in security system integration afterward. Since 2017, I have been working as a security consultant for the APAC region.

My current work in the security space spans areas including physical security, risk assessments, security audits, event security, executive protection, policies and procedures as well as systems design.

Tell us about your journey within ASIS and how it has helped you in your career?

I joined ASIS in 2013 and obtained the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Physical Security Professional (PSP) certifications in 2020.

Preparing for the certification exams has helped me to look at my abilities objectively and expanded my career landscape.

These certifications have also helped to validate my experience in the security field. Also, I have served in various leadership roles on behalf of the ASIS Hong Kong Chapter since 2018.

I am proud to serve the Chapter and its members.

During this time, I have met and learned from countless security professionals. This is my third year as Chapter Chair and my main goal is to develop and mentor future leaders for our chapter.

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