Snow Leopard Commando Unit
|Snow Leopard Commando Unit|
The arm patch formerly used by SWCU operators
|Active||December 2002 (existence only revealed in 29th August, 2006) - Present|
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|Branch||People's Armed Police|
|Size||Over 400 officers|
|Part of||As the 3rd Group of the 13th Detachment under the PAP's Beijing General Corps|
|Colors||White With Blood Specs|
Conducted security operations in the 2008 Summer OlympicsCounter-terrorist operations in Xinjiang province
The Snow Leopard Commando Unit (Abbreviation: SLCU; Simplified Chinese: 雪豹突击队) is a special police unit of the People's Republic of China under the People's Armed Police, tasked with counter-terrorism, riot control, and other special tasks such as anti-hijacking, and bomb disposal. The SLCU, along with the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau's Beijing SWAT unit, was tasked with many of the security responsibilities of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Officially, the SLCU is known as the 3rd Group, 13th Detachment, People's Armed Police Beijing General Corp.
After its secret establishment in October 2002, the SWCU unit had been trained out of the public eye for five years. The SWCU and the Beijing SWAT unit were unveiled in a demonstration at the Beijing Police Academy on April 27, 2006 as part of a public relations effort to illustrate the capabilities of the People's Armed Police to deal with terrorism, protection of delegates, and to enforce law and order in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The SLCU had participated in anti-terrorist exercises with Russia on September 4, 2007 known as "Cooperation-2007." SLCU operators had been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq to protect Chinese diplomatic personnel.
The unit had undergone a name change from its first name, now known officially as the Snow Leopard Commando Unit. According to Qu Liangfeng, a senior PAP officer in charge of the daily operations of SLCU, he said the name change was "inspired by the story of a brave and cunning snow leopard, which escaped an ambush by a hunter and his eight hunting dogs."
Training and selection
Only officers who have served in the People's Armed Police for a period of 1 to 2 years are eligible to apply, after which they will be put through a process of interviews, physical and psychological tests. The current average age (as of 2006) of SLCU officers is 22 years, as most of them entered the unit when they were about 18, thus making them amongst the youngest in the counter-terrorism community.
The officers who are eventually selected for the course go through an arduous period of physical training, driving lessons for various vehicles, and weapons training. Their physical training includes 200 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 100 squats, lifting barbells 200 times and carrying a 35 kg load for a 10 km cross-country run. They are then assigned to the Beijing General Corps' 13th Detachment, where the SLCU is based.
The SLCU consists of four squadrons assigned with very specific responsibilities:
|11th Squadron||Obstacle Removal, Bomb Disposal, Anti-WMD Terrorism|
Weapons and equipment
The SLCU was shown in the demonstrations armed with the QBZ-95 series of rifles and QSZ-92 pistols, but they will most probably also be armed with a wide variety of submachine guns and other firearms. The unit has spent about CNY 2 million (approximately US$ 258,000) in domestically manufactured armored personnel carriers for riot-control and has also imported CNY 4 million worth of American manufactured vehicles and equipment.
The standard uniform layout has the arm patch sewn on the right arm, with the unit badge above the right breast pocket. The words "SPECIAL POLICE GRP" (Special Police Group) is embroidered on the right side of the tactical vest or body armor. It is interesting to note that this is a divergence from all the other P.R.C. uniformed units, which have their badges and patches embroidered on the left side of their uniforms instead.
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