Guardian honored to protect the community

Updated: 2011-09-22 07:24

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

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Guardian honored to protect the community
Xiao Linchun has been a security guard for 17 years. 

GUANGZHOU - Xiao Linchun's cell phone is never turned off, and when it rings he knows there is an emergency he needs to deal with.

On the morning of Aug 9, the call was to alert him to a nearby garment factory that was on fire.

The 35-year-old security guard immediately called his colleagues and rushed to the scene.

He was busy helping people to evacuate to a safe place, while his team doused the flames before firefighters arrived.

"For security guards like us, it's a happy time when there are no reports of casualties in such an emergency," he said.

Xiao, who heads a team of security guards that covers Haizhu district's Ruibao Street in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, has been in the job since he left high school in 1994.

In some people's eyes, security guards simply play a supporting role, and the job is often regarded as one that requires lower academic credentials.

"When I decided to become a security guard, my parents and friends were so surprised. Some said it wasn't worth it and I deserved a better job," he said. "I think it's a decent job. It provides me with chances to do something significant for residents.

"I may not be a policeman, but I'm very proud of my work," he said.

China's first modern security guards appeared in 1984 in Shenzhen, a pioneering city of China's reform and opening-up. A year later, professional security companies were set up nationwide to help police with public order and safety.

Xiao, who leads 140 guards, has two main duties: to provide security for banks, restaurants, shopping malls and companies in Ruibao Street, and to assist police and urban management officers in maintaining traffic order and tackling crime.

"Security guards are an important supplement," he said, adding that his squad usually patrols with police officers and is often the first to be dispatched to the scene of accidents.

Chen Guihua, 22, who joined Xiao's security team three years ago, said he was driven by his boss' work ethic.

"I'm still young, but I think I'll stay with him for another few years," he said. "Besides teaching us skills, he's like a big brother."

After 17 years' service, Xiao has assisted in cracking 1,252 public security cases, 354 criminal cases and 6,591 disputes. He was honored as one of China's best security guards on Sept 2 this year in Beijing.

"I'd never dreamed of such an honor," he said, recalling the moment he received the prize at the Great Hall of the People. "It will push me to do a better job in the future."

The father-of-two said he has also received almost 100 letters of thanks from residents.

After leaving his hometown in Zhanjiang, a coastal city about 500 km from Guangzhou, Xiao had originally planned on finding an office job at a company.

"But I gradually changed my view and I fell in love with my job as a security guard," he said.

His wife, Lao Xiaohong, also gradually accepted his career choice. The couple now live in a rented apartment with their two sons, who attend primary school in Guangzhou.

"The job supports my family now, so I don't need to change it. Life will pay you if you work hard," Xiao said.

Tan Xuezhen contributed to this story.