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The Government Laboratory provides a wide range of analytical, investigatory and advisory services and support to enable departments and bureaux of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to meet their responsibilities for law and order, public health and safety, environmental protection, government revenue, consumers' interests and implementation of government policies. Similar services are provided for other statutory bodies.

Dating back more than 130 years to the appointment of the first Apothecary and Analyst in 1879, the Government Laboratory is one of the oldest organisations in the Hong Kong Government. Headed now by the Government Chemist, the laboratory has at present an establishment of some 480 staff of whom around one third are professional experts in various scientific disciplines.

The Laboratory moved to its present premises in Homantin, Kowloon in December 1992 and has several satellite laboratories in various locations of Hong Kong. The Laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, particularly in respect of analytical instrumentation, computer networking systems, security of operations and management of laboratory waste.

The scientific administration of the Government Laboratory is the responsibility of the Government Chemist who heads the agency. There are two operational divisions:

each of which is headed by an Assistant Government Chemist. Administrative Support is provided by the Administration Division.

In addition to the services provided to client departments, the Laboratory is actively involved in promoting metrology in chemistry, both local and overseas. Efforts have been made for enhancing the technical expertise of the staff through participation in conferences and experience sharing and collaboration with expert organizations. Assurance in providing safe laboratory environment and adequate staff training has always been the policy and significant activity of the Laboratory.

The Laboratory also offers training for visitors and scientists from local laboratories, China and Macau. The Laboratory also shares its experience with countries and economies in the Asia-Pacific region through various international and regional arrangements such as those of United Nations organizations. It presents lectures and arranges attachment programmes to operational staff of major client departments, primarily through the efforts of its professional staff.

The remarkable advances in technology in recent years coupled with the frequent introduction of government new policies and regulations involving scientific considerations, the launching of new materials and products in the local market as well as the sophistication of criminal activities have contributed to significant changes in the work patterns of, and methodology employed atthe Laboratory. This has led not only to a broader coverage in scope of service provision, a higher degree of specialization among the professional staff, but also to the installation of a powerful array of modern scientific instruments.