A dai fei, a type of specially designed speedboat, with a stolen car on board heads towards Mirs Bay, Hong Kong, in 1991. It was former Hong Kong marine police officer Les Bird’s job to intercept them before they reached mainland China. Photo: Hong Kong Police

Hong Kong smuggling: sea battles, ‘car in a condom case’ and saving refugees recalled by ex-marine police officer

  • Les Bird led Hong Kong’s Special Boat Unit in the 1980s, tasked with catching smugglers racing to mainland China in specially designed speedboats
  • He also found himself playing the role of welfare officer to tens of thousands of refugees after the Vietnam war, often seeing boats sink before his eyes
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A dai fei, a type of specially designed speedboat, with a stolen car on board heads towards Mirs Bay, Hong Kong, in 1991. It was former Hong Kong marine police officer Les Bird’s job to intercept them before they reached mainland China. Photo: Hong Kong Police
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The ICAC: how Hong Kong’s corrupt police force became ‘Asia’s finest’

  • Set up in 1974, the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s early years were marked by tumultuous relations with police
  • Following an infamous incident in October 1977, the corruption-riddled force was gradually transformed
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