Four women part of 24-hour elite police team guarding Hong Kong’s next leader

They include a former triathlon champion who previously toted a submachine gun while on airport security duty

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2017, 4:57pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2017, 10:02pm

At least four female bodyguards are part of a team of elite police officers providing 24-hour protection for chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the Post has learnt.

They were selected from the VIP protection unit, also known as G4, which is a low-profile detachment of about 120 top officers, including around 10 women.

The Post was told that Lam had not requested female bodyguards and the force would be unlikely to organise an all-woman team to protect her round the clock.

It is understood that Lam, who was elected on Sunday and takes over as leader on July 1, has the same protection as outgoing chief executive Leung Chun-ying.

“Risk assessments will have to be carried out on every venue she visits,” one source said, adding that the deployment depended on the results of assessments.

Dressed in dark jackets and wearing earpieces, the team was on protective duty as Lam began her meet-the-public sessions across the city on Monday and Tuesday.

One of the four women is Constable Yip Kwan-yau, who joined the VIP protection unit last year.

Yip, also known as Ah Yau, joined the force in 2011 and had served in the airport security unit since 2013. She is a former member of the Hong Kong National Triathlon team and won the 2002 Macau Triathlon Asian Cup Series.

While attached to the airport security unit, she routinely carried a Glock 17 pistol, MP5 submachine gun, an extendable baton and other equipment weighing more than 15kg in total.

Watch: Carrie Lam visits Hung Hom

The VIP protection unit, which runs all aspects of government security including protection for visiting dignitaries, is among other elite squads, including the special duty unit, counter terrorism unit and airport security unit, that annually recruits within the force.

Before officers become G4 team members, they go through a strict selection process based on background screening, physical fitness and shooting proficiency, according to another source.

“This is followed by an intense training course that includes techniques to provide cover for their VIPs. After they pass the training, they will be assigned on a protective mission,” he said.

As state leaders will visit Hong Kong in July to mark the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese sovereignty, the source said former G4 members and those who had received similar training would be recruited into the VIP protection unit to ensure their safety.

President Xi Jinping is expected to visit the city to swear in the new chief executive and review the local garrison of the People’s Liberation Army.

Police in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province have started a six-month cross-border crackdown on crime in the three jurisdictions ahead of visits by state leaders.