The West Australian explains this training sponsored by the government is a gay conversion therapy, which includes prayer, cold showers and practising abstinence as a way to avoid same-sex relationships.
The government seems to think that homosexuals are possessed by evil spirits and needed to be 'cleansed' or 'cured' through conversion therapy," said Joseph Cho, a spokesman for gay rights group Rainbow Action.
"They are criminalising people with same sex orientation -- this is an international joke," he added.
The psychiatrist Hong Kwai-wah has the role "to help people struggling with homosexuality and diffuse their inner dilemmas, rewire their mental state as well as propagate the belief that homosexuals can change," according to the website of New Creation Association for which Hong is the chairman.
The group said it differs from other counselling organisations which "tend to encourage homosexuals to accept their sexual orientation."
The southern Chinese city's Social Welfare Department said in a statement:
"The department had adopted and would continue to adopt an open and impartial attitude in organising training courses, thematic talks and experience sharing sessions for the professional development of its social workers."
The government added that "knowledge from multiple perspectives was essential for social workers to make professional and independent assessment on their cases and to address specific needs of service users."
Even if homosexualty were decriminalized in 1991, Hong Kong is still a conservative city.