Police collapse after anti-riot drill in sun
SEVERAL policemen collapsed after riot drill at the Police Tactical Training Unit at Lowu yesterday.
Five officers were taken to hospital after three fainted and four more felt ill at the end of the hour-long exercise in the morning.
One of the men was last night in fair condition in hospital, but the other four were released after treatment.
The incident follows the death of an officer with a heart condition while taking part in an anti-riot exercise in Tai Po on July 2.
However, experts said little could be done to better prepare the men for the rigours of yesterday's test.
The drill involved 340 officers, half of whom posed as demonstrators in a peaceful protest which developed into a riot.
Superintendent Danny Wong Chi-man of the Police Tactical Unit said he believed the incident was due to the hot weather.
The Royal Observatory recorded a temperature of 31 degrees Celsius near the border at 10.30 am.
Mr Wong said: 'Most of them suffered from dehydration because of the fierce sun. It had nothing to do with their fitness or the drill.' 'It was part of a tough routine training they need to go through in a 12-week training course. Those discharged from hospital have to come back and continue the remaining four weeks,' he added.
Medical experts said little could be done to prevent such incidents.
Services such as the police required a high degree of discipline, said Dr So Kai-min, vice-president of the Hong Kong Medical Association.
'Very often, they have to stand still for a long time under the sun, causing blood to gravitate to the lower limbs and they may faint,' he said.
Officers who do the tactical unit training must have at least one year's experience in the force.
They must pass physical tests which include running and doing press-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups and squat thrusts, in order to be considered for the course.