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Life savers

Life savers:  The ‘flying tigers’ perform a mock hostage rescue exercise.

Great depths

Great depths:  The Special Duties Unit has conducted 335 dive searches in the past 40 years.

Physical agility

Physical agility:  A flying tiger shows his climbing skills on a rock wall.

Flying tigers to mark 40th anniversary

August 03, 2014

The Police Force’s Special Duties Unit, popularly known as the flying tigers, is celebrating 40 years of service this year.


Established in 1974 to target international terrorism, it is the force’s elite tactical unit. Its logo is a tiger with a pair of wings - an emblem of courage.

Its main duties are to counter terrorist attacks, rescue hostages, and tackle serious crimes involving firearms. In the last four decades, the unit has participated in 162 missions and conducted 335 dive searches.

Each Special Duties Unit member has undergone a rigorous screening process and tough training. The unit must be on standby 24 hours, seven days a week, on the highest alert to cope with any dangerous mission that may suddenly crop up.


An SDU member’s basic gear weighs 18 to 22 kilograms. They carry an MP5 submachine gun, Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol, ballistic vest, ballistic headgear, fire-resistant head cover and a gas mask.


High-performance sniffer dogs also assist SDU members in their duties.


The unit has an annual recruitment exercise with an 11-day selection period, popularly known as “hell week”, which is incredibly demanding. Only 25% of applicants succeed and they undergo a further nine-month training period to upgrade their abilities in shooting, tactics and physical endurance.


Since its inception, a total of 383 members have served in the team, and more than 100 are currently serving.

Anti-drug campaign