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In the late 19th Century, the kidnapping and trafficking of women and children was commonplace in Hong Kong and other parts of Southeast Asia. On 8 November 1878, four Dongguan merchants -, Lo Lai-ping, Shi Shang-kai, Fung Ming-shan and Tse Tat-shing - took definitive action to provide shelter and protection for those at risk by presenting a petition to the then Governor of Hong Kong, Sir John Pope Hennessy. The Colonial Government formally approved this in May 1880, and Po Leung Kung Kuk was officially born.
In August 1882, the draft regulations of PLK were made official, enabling us to assist the Government in preventing abduction and to protect the young and the innocent. Over time, it became apparent that greater demands were required of PLK. After several reviews by the Government, the Po Leung Kuk Incorporation Ordinance, comprising 35 clauses, was enacted in 1893, creating a more efficient system for PLK to operate under.
By the end of the 1930's, the government outlawed prostitution and the keeping of "Mui Tsai" (maids), and consequently the incidence of kidnapping fell. With the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War, new social problems - such as the influx of refugees - had arisen, which brought along child abuse and abandonment. PLK expanded its service to provide vocational training and education to refugee women. During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, PLK took on more humanitarian responsibilities by providing shelter to the homeless. In the post-WWII period, PLK gradually extended its scope along with facility enhancement, to reinforce vocational training for women and children under our care.
In response to the rapid onset of social changes in the 1960's, PLK increased its coverage to include residential care, daycare, education, and rehabilitation of the mentally challenged. To meet these changes, the government amended the Ordinance of PLK in 1973, and the new Po Leung Kuk Incorporation Ordinance was enacted under Chapter 1040 of the Laws of Hong Kong. Following this, PLK became more involved in education services, and subsequently began to branch out to recreational services with the acquisition of land grants from the Government for a purpose-built holiday camp. By the 1980's, we extended the extent of our services to include elderly care.
Today, the PLK is a fully integrated social service institution that offers high-quality social services including social welfare, education, culture and recreation, to meet community needs.