UP to 20,000 front-line police officers are to get special training to stop criminals stealing their service revolvers. The news comes two days after a 19-year-old officer was shot dead with his own gun. A force spokesman said Constable Hon Wing-sang would have stood a better chance had he undergone ''firearm retention'' training. Hon finished his training in January - before the introduction of a 30-minute lesson telling officers how not to lose their pistols. This will now be taught to all front-line officers. The Police Training School's deputy commandant, Senior Superintendent Anthony McLoughlin, said yesterday the programme was still in the planning stage but would start as soon as possible. It would use the same methods now being taught to all PTS students, including a batch of 125 officers who were passed out yesterday, he said. The staggered course will train policemen who have already passed out of PTS, including CID detectives and ''older officers'', in groups of up to five per instructor. ''They need to save their own lives and those of others,'' Mr McLoughlin said. ''We want to start it as soon as possible, but it is a matter of finding the time and the instructors. ''Unfortunately, PC Hon did not receive this training. If he had been taught it, he might have reacted differently,'' he added. The youth alleged to have grabbed Hon's .38 Smith and Wesson service revolver during the early hours of Friday morning, 19-year-old Lau Ka-ming, was yesterday charged with murder and is due to appear at Kwun Tong Court tomorrow. A 16-year-old, Ho Chi-wai, who was with Lau in the taxi when it was stopped, was in poor condition yesterday at United Christian Hospital after being shot in the stomach. The incident has also raised fears about the safety of the force's new ''quick-draw'' holsters, which were introduced only last year. Officers were still checking whether Hon's gun had been withdrawn by the officer before it was snatched.