The Special Duties Unit (SDU), colloquially known as the ‘Flying Tigers’, is Hong Kong’s premier police unit, trained to handle the most perilous threats in the absence of a military. Founded in 1974 in response to international terrorism and trained alongside renowned international special forces like the British SAS and US Navy SEALs, the SDU handles terror attacks, hostage situations, maritime security, public order policing, VIP protection, and reconnaissance.
- The Special Duties Unit was established in 1974 as a countermeasure to the rising threat of international terrorism. It was trained alongside notable special forces units like the British SAS, German GSG9, and US Navy SEALs.
- Initial triggers for its formation included the 1971 hijacking of a Philippine airline heading to Hong Kong and the 1972 Munich Massacre. The unit’s capabilities were further expanded due to various global and local threats, making it a robust tactical response team.
- The SDU is tasked with diverse responsibilities, from counter-terrorism and dealing with organized crime to public order policing, VIP protection, and maritime security.
- Recruitment into the SDU is stringent, with candidates undergoing rigorous training sessions, including a grueling “Hell Week.” Post-training, only those with “outstanding performance” join the unit.
- The SDU has engaged in numerous covert operations, and their publicly known endeavors include combatting the 1990’s crime wave and the arrest of Hong Kong’s most wanted, Kwai Ping-hung, in 2003.