Training pays off for elite officers
While Hongkongers sit back to enjoy Christmas and the new year, the elite Police Tactical Unit is kicking into full gear to ensure we are safe and sound over the holidays.
Nearly 600 officers took part in a half-day of fun and games, where training exercises were transformed into comedic muscle games to raise money for Operation Santa Claus.
Steve Wordsworth, deputy commandant of the PTU, said: 'Christmas is always a busy period for the Police Tactical Unit.
'With all the crowds that will be gathering in Lan Kwai Fong and in Tsim Sha Tsui, we will be deploying thousands of officers on the ground, literally thousands. It will be a busy time for us, so we are sort of having an early celebration.'
The most senior officers had to don a thickly padded suit and compete to see who can run the furthest before getting chased down by a speedy Belgian Shepherd patrol dog.
'A lot of the boys are quite excited because they will see senior officers like me get chased by a dog,' Wordsworth said.
The exercise is used regularly by officers to train dogs - with appropriate safety precautions - in the Police Dog Unit.
Chris Kwok Wing-tak, a chief inspector in the PTU and the organiser of the event, said: 'We've expanded our physical training regimes into games which we can raise money for charity with.
'The way we raise money is if the most senior officer doesn't have the guts to get chased by the dog, then he or she can donate HK$100 to get someone of lower rank to do it.'
The other new game, which involved all officers, was to see which team can complete a set of dumbbell lifts, and thread a needle immediately after and sew a button onto a PTU uniform jacket.
The winning team pays zero penalty to charity, while the following teams pay increasingly more the slower they are.
The game drew loud cheers, with the crowd clearly believing the sight of macho men sewing a button after pumping iron was worth every cent of their donation to see.
A PTU senior inspector, Raymond Tsang Kwong-wah, said: 'The game is just a spin-off of our dumbbell-lifting exercises, which we do a lot to make sure our arms are strong enough to carry our shields.'
The PTU has been giving to Operation Santa Claus since 1990, and the annual half-day of games began five years ago. The event took place at the training grounds of the PTU headquarters in Fanling and raised HK$82,812.
Operation Santa Claus, jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, has supported more than 100 charities since it was launched in 1988.
This year, it will raise money for 16 Hong Kong charities.
How you can give
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Donations can be made at ATMs or at any branch of HSBC: account number 502-676299-001 for SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS
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