Kin-Kei Li


Assistant Superintendent

Customs & Excise Department

HKSAR Government

Since he was a little boy, like many other little boys, Kin-Kei was already passionate about the work of disciplinary forces. As he grew older, Customs and Excise interested him more as it was closer to his major of studies at HKUST, and he was fascinated by the breadth of Customs works which cross-cuts many different fields of society. As well, the role of Customs is a strong pillar of support to his home of Hong Kong, directly and indirectly, as it encompasses security, public protection, economy and revenue, fair trade and facilitation, environmental protection, product safety and more. 

After graduation Kin-Kei was offered a position with the government but unfortunately could not take up the job due to a serious knee injury. Two years later, he once again decided to follow his dream and apply for the same position again. His dedication paid off and he was re-admitted to Hong Kong Customs and Excise in 1999. He continued to study for a Master Degree in Criminology and has acquired other professional accreditations, and today he is an Assistant Superintendent in the Department. He was seconded to the World Customs Organization as a Technical Attaché representing Hong Kong Customs from 2014-2016.

Kin-Kei enjoys learning from the great ideas of his experienced colleagues, and in particular his work in criminal investigation. Despite the extremely heavy work load, he derives a strong satisfaction from winning over the criminals in sophisticated syndicate crimes. Working for the World Customs Organization in Brussels has also been an eye-opening experience for him, having inspired him with how big the world really is. It has been a great pleasure for him to work in the incredible cross-cultural environment there with the best experts from around the globe, as well as to travel around the world to work with many different people. He has managed several policy-related projects and he is happy to have achieved some good contributions to the global anti-drug policy together with the international Customs community and other bodies including the World Health Organization and the United Nations.

Along the way to taking up a leadership role, Kin-Kei has encountered many challenges which he likens to sailing a boat in the middle of nowhere. "When you are the captain," he explains, "you need to direct your crew on which way to go and what to do. Though sometimes you cannot even be sure it will lead you to land, everyone counts on you and you have to make your most sound decision. Most of the time we need creative thinking based upon good knowledge and experience, a humble ear, a good environment to cultivate teamwork, and the ability to cope with the fast changes—the world is flat now!"

Kin-Kei remembers his time at HKUST fondly. Besides academic knowledge, HKUST also taught him how to make things work and to strive to achieve something with other people (he was part of the Marketing Society and the Dragon Boat Team). "I am glad I learned in my university life to be brave to face challenges. By overcoming obstacles, we become stronger, like when I strove for the challenge to work overseas: it was both a huge change to my life and a big discovery in life as well. Being adventurous and jumping out of the box helped me a lot with my personal and professional development," he says.

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A Career in the HKSAR Government - Conversations with Alumni


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