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More emergency help offered for expats
Event & Exhibition
The number of operators working on the city's
emergency help line who are able to speak a foreign language is to be quadrupled by 2010, to give foreigners better access to police assistance, the public security bureau said yesterday.

The number will be increased from 23 to about 100 by the year Shanghai holds the World Expo, it said.

In the first 10 months of this year, expats made 1,400 calls, up from about 100 for the whole of 2003, he said. Only a small number of the calls were to report criminal activity.

Shen said prior to being employed as operators, applicants must pass an examination and undertake a training course. They are required to be on call 24 hours a day via mobile phone.

The operators serve only as translators, however, with other departments making decisions as to whether police officers need to be deployed, he said.

The bureau currently employs operators able to speak English, German, Japanese, French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean and Italian.

Foreigners are encouraged to use the service in the event of an emergency and to report accidents and crime, Shen said.

Last year, the city launched a call center, manned by 12 operators, to provide information in English and Chinese on tourist destinations, culture, sport and healthcare.

(Source: China Daily)