Khan Hanif (right) receives a Good Citizen Award certificate. Photo: HK Government

A Hong Kong-born teenager with a Pakistani background has become the youngest ever recipient of the biennial Hong Kong Good Citizen Award, and his courage and sense of righteousness were commended at a ceremony held on Wednesday.

Khan M Hanif, 13, intercepted a man who had stolen a handbag and helped the victim recover her property. The culprit was subsequently convicted of theft and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.

“Many Hongkongers see South Asians as rogues and even criminals, but I just want to spread a message that it’s not true,” Khan said. He hopes his spontaneous deed to fight crime can make the mainstream of Hong Kong society see ethnic minorities in a new light, rather through the stereotyped prism of prejudice and even discrimination.

Khan was nominated for the award by the Yuen Long Police Station.

Last October, he saw a man pick up a handbag that had been dropped by a pedestrian and flee. He chased the man for a few minutes before others joined in and subdued the suspect. Property worth more than HK$1,000 (US$127) was recovered, Apple Daily reported.

The boy, who is fluent in Cantonese, said his mother worried that the jailed thief would want to settle the score with him after release, but he didn’t think too much about that back then and he had a sense of fulfillment from doing the right thing.

He said he might consider joining the police in the future.

The Good Citizen Award program aims to praise members of the Hong Kong public who help detect or fight crimes or contribute in other ways to public safety. All awardees get a check for HK$3,000.

With the help of the awardees, more than 30 persons were arrested for offenses including telephone deception, theft, robbery, indecent assault and drug trafficking over the past two years.

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