A Shroff Office!

A Shroff Office

The first time I was directed to take my parking ticket and receipts to the Shroff Office to redeem my “parking privileges” (i.e. get free parking!) I put it down to those odd mist-translations which pop up frequently around Hong Kong.  The second time I thought it was funny that so many car parks were making the same mistake.  After the third time I realised that it was “a thing”!  So I have done some research (google, naturally!) and it seems that the term “Shroff” originated with the British rule.  
In White’s book “Turbans and Traders’ (about South Asians in Hong Kong), she notes that the Shroff was the ‘Police Court Official to whom money was paid’ in 1872. Now in this era of Hong Kong the great bulk of the police force were South Asian.  As the term has a East Asian origin it seems likely that the term was adopted by the administration because of the large South Asian contingent in Hong Kong and the forces.  It has endured and remains one of those odd reminders of the complex colonial heritage of Hong Kong.