HONG KONG – According to official records compiled by Hong Kong diocese, the Catholic population of the special administrative region sat at about 248,000 at the end of 2007. However, this figure excludes the 100,000 or so Catholics among the migrant worker and expatriate population.

The vicar general of the diocese, Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, said after adjustments including baptisms and deaths and the fact that about 20,000 have probably left Hong Kong, the real figure should be closer to 350,000.

Father Chan also noted that the last 20 years has seen a big increase in the numbers of baptisms each year in the diocese. The average numbers currently sits at around 4,000 and Amelia Kwan, the executive secretary of the Hong Kong Central Council of Catholic Laity, said in March that there has been a strengthening in the willingness of Catholics to publicly witness to their faith. n SUNDAY EXAMINER

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