Special Duties Unit

Special Duties Unit

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Special Duties Unit (SDU)

caption=Post-Royal Hong Kong Police SDU Patch
country= flagcountry|Hong Kong
type= Special Forces
branch= Hong Kong Police Force
dates= July 1963- Present
specialization= Domestic Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
command_structure= Police Tactical Unit
size= No official figures,
estimated at 100+
nickname= "Fei Foo Dui" (飛虎隊) or "Flying Tigers"
battles= Various anti-crime operations
notable_commanders=Peter Yam Tat-wing (任達榮)
identification_symbol=SDU Armpatch

The Special Duties Unit (Abbreviation: SDU; Traditional Chinese: 特別任務連, nicknamed 飛虎隊 Flying Tigers) is a secretive and elite paramilitary police unit of the Hong Kong Police. Established in July 1974, it is a sub-division of the Police Tactical Unit (PTU). Its primary functions include counter-terrorism, anti-narcotic raids, hostage rescue and other crimes (usually involving firearms) which are deemed too dangerous for local police to handle. The unit holds regular training exercises with similar units from around the world and used to be trained by the British SAS before the handover of Hong Kong back to China.

Origins & History

The establishment of SDU can be traced back to an incident on March 13 1971, when a plane from Philippine Airlines was hijacked and landed in Kai Tak Airport. Though the incident was resolved peacefully, the Hong Kong Police Force became concerned that a similar incident would occur in the future. A "marksmen squad" (神槍手隊) was assembled in 1973 and later re-organised into the Special Duties Unit in 1974.

The unit is modelled after the British SAS. When SAS personnel came to Hong Kong in 1978 to refine their CQB techniques as well as training syllabus, SDU received their training from the SAS.

In its 30 year history, the SDU has evolved into a unit capable of conducting operations through air, land and sea. It consists of a support group, administration group and the action group. The action group is the core of the unit, further categorised into the land assault team, the water assault team and the sniper team.

The SDU Water Team

British SBS operators also helped SDU develop its own specialist marine attack unit (known as the Marine Counter Terrorist Team; nicknamed: 水鬼隊 "Water Ghosts") after an incident in the early 1980s. Due to its highly specialist nature, the Marine Counter Terrorist Team has often been compared with the United States Navy SEALs. An SDU sniper in the team was seriously injured when having joint training with SEAL Team 6 in 1991, during a ship-boarding exercise.

The Marine Counter Terrorist Team was later disbanded in 2000, because all current SDU operators are equally trained and proficient in maritime operations.

Training & Selection

To maintain the SDU's high standards, recruitment exercises are not open to the general public. To even qualify for the recruitment, one must have a minimum two years service in the Hong Kong Police, and to be both a non-smoker and non-drinker. The selection process is very stringent, with a high drop-out rate; only about 100 are selected to enlist in the SDU. Contrary to popular belief, the unit does not train with mainland China special forces.

The officers in the unit maintain a high degree of secrecy and only the closest family members know their true identity.

Interestingly, the SDU does not enforce a retirement age, due to the unit's emphasis on overall personal capability rather than physical prowess alone; an officer only retires when he wishes to resign or has become incapable of fulfilling his duties.

The officers in SDU enjoy a comparatively high salary, a typical officer can expect to afford an expensive car or other luxuries in his first year of service. At their retirement, they are paid a lump sum of hongkong dollar (HK) $2,000,000 and still receive a monthly pay-check. Fact|date=September 2007

Equipment & weapons


S&W M10 (Early 70s - late 70s)

Browning Mk3 (Late 70s - early 90s)

Glock 17 (Early 90s - present)

Submachine Guns

Sterling submachine gun (Early 70s - late70s)

MP5A3 (Early 80s - present)

MP5A5 (Early 80s - present)

MP5SD3 (Early 80s - present)
Assault Rifle

AR-15 (Early 70s - early 80s)

XM-177 (1982 - 2000)

MC-51 (1992 - 1996)

M-4 (2001 - present, as medium range sniper rifle)

G-36KV (2001 - present, as medium range sniper rifle) Shotguns

Remington 870 (Early 80s - present)

Benelli M1 Super 90 (Early 80s - present)

Sniper Rifles
G3SG-1 (Early 80s - early 90s)

PSG-1 (Late 80s - 2005)

L42A1 (Early 80s - 90s)

L96A1 (Early 90s - present)

SR-25 (Late 90s - present)

SSG-2000 (Early 90s - present)

Known Operations

During a robbery in 1992, four robbers with AK-47 assault rifles battled the SDU, resulting in 7 operators injured. As a result of this incident, their CQB technique was further refined in order to fit Hong Kong's unique urban environment, and new equipment were added to the SDU's arsenal.

Before Christmas Eve of 2003, the most wanted person in Hong Kong was arrested in a joint raid between the SDU and Criminal Intelligence Branch (CIB, Team D). No shots were fired during the raid.

DU in Popular Culture

Similar to the LAPD SWAT team, the unit is known for their numerous fictional appearances in TV shows and movies in Hong Kong.

* The SDU made an appearance in a computer game, in the last mission of : Urban Operations, but have been already gunned down by the time the Rainbow team reaches them. There are also numerous reference to the "Flying Tigers" nickname in the neon-signs throughout the level.

* The SDU was recently realistically portrayed in "Breaking News". However, they were made famous in Hong Kong cinema from the "Final Option", "First Option" and "New Option" series of movies starring Michael Wong as the brash troop leader of a SDU platoon.

*The SDU were also featured in the highly popular and multiple award winning Benny Chan film, "New Police Story", featuring Jackie Chan and Nicholas Tse. The SDU were referenced multiple times throughout the film and appeared in force near the end of the film during the final confrontation scene.

*The SDU appear in large numbers in Invisible Target to assist in taking down the Ronin gang.



ee also

Other Local Specialist Law Enforcement Agencies

;within Hong Kong SAR
*Airport Security Unit (ASU)
*Police Tactical Unit (PTU);within Mainland China
*Special Police Unit (SPU), People's Republic of China, People's Armed Police
*Snow Wolf Commando Unit (SWCU), People's Republic of China, Special Armed Police Corps

Comparable Foreign Agencies

*GIGN, a division of the French Gendarmerie FRA
*Special Air Service (SAS), British Armed Forces UK
*Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR), Singapore Police Force flagicon|Singapore
*Nationella Insatsstyrkan (NI), Swedish Police Service SWE
*Emergency Task Force (TPS) (ETF), Toronto Police Service CAN

External links

* [http://www.sdupro.com/ SDUPro.com]

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