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Special Tactical Squad
Special Unit Cleaning Tamar Street 20141211.jpg
Special Tactical Squad removes obstacles from Tamar Street in Hong Kong
Active June 2014-Present
Country  Hong Kong (China)
Branch Hong Kong Police Force
Type Riot Control
Role Crowd control, riot control, internal security, obstacle removal, securing areas and conducting arrests, first aid, etc.
Part of HKPF Operations and Support Department's Operational Bureau
Police Tactical Unit (Hong Kong)
Garrison/HQ 1 Wu Tip Shan Road, Fanling
Nickname(s) Elite Team
Motto(s) "Failing to plan is planning to fail."
Colors Dark Blue
Engagements 2014 Hong Kong protests
2016 Mong Kok civil unrest
2016 Anti-Interpretation Protest
2019 Hong Kong protests

The Special Tactical Squad (Abbreviation: STS; Chinese: 特別戰術小隊, nicknamed Raptors; Chinese: 速龍小隊) is a paramilitary task force of the Hong Kong Police Force, being a sub-division of the Police Tactical Unit (PTU). It was created in June 2014 to handle protests with its main tasks being crowd control and riot control, including when the PTU suffered from heavy blockade or obstruction. Examples were obstacle removal, conducting arrests, providing first aid, etc[citation needed]. The STS would also conduct observational and command related tasks, to ensure and review the Police Tactical Unit's use of force and tactics are appropriate, to further improve from past events. A report by Amnesty International singled out the Special Tactical Squad and riot police for "the worst abuses" of excessive force during the 2019 protests, noting that "almost every arrested person interviewed described being beaten with batons and fists during the arrest, even when they were not resisting and often already restrained," along with multiple hospitalizations.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

In order to handle Occupy Central, the principle of the Police Tactical Unit, Chief Superintendent Au Yeung Chiu Kong Danko established the Special Tactical Squad task force in late June 2014. From its establishment, it was referred to as Removal Team internally in the police force. As Occupy Central evolved into the 2014 Hong Kong protests, the Removal Team got exposure in the press. The Hong Kong media gave it the nickname of Professional Removal Team. As Occupy Central continued, the squad gained further attention. On 30 Nov 2014, the Chief Superintendent of the Police Tactical Unit, Au Yeung Chiu Kong Danko, officially named it as the Special Tactical Squad.[2]

The Special Tactical Squad within the Hong Kong Police Force was stripped of their special task force status, and instead put within the police structure as an official unit.[3][verification needed]

On February 9 evening, 2016, in an escalation of the civil unrest, protesters changed their tactics, overwhelming the Hong Kong Police Force, and the Special Tactical Squad were deployed as a result. They arrived at the intersection of Soy Street and Sai Yeung Choi Street South at 4:30 am, where they quickly cleared protesters. However, after 5 minutes, due to the lack of reinforcements, they were forced to retreat, with one constable injured[citation needed].

Selection Training[edit | edit source]

Police officers require training in thermal cutting and obstacle removal.[4]

Uniform[edit | edit source]

STS Patch worn by officers.

Work Uniform: Dark Blue,[6] similar to other police units' uniform, including the Police Tactical Unit's work uniform, Airport Security Unit's work uniform, Marine Region's work uniform, Police Dog Unit's action uniform, Force Search Unit's work uniform, etc. To void of the media's confusion, and to be easily recognizable by the public, there is an emblem in their righter chest area, writing "Police Tactical Unit Special Tactical Squad" in English (as a continuation after the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau as the second police unit to have their unit title on their police work or action uniform). Other than that, constables must stick on coloured labels on their helmet during daytime, and insert a fluorescent stick (including yellow or red colours, depending on their team) in night time, as for easier recognition by a commanding officer.

Equipment[edit | edit source]

2 STS officers standing on the mobile platform. (Photo taken on 25th of November, Mong Kok Reclamation Street)

ASP 21-inch (53 cm) expandable baton in expanded and collapsed state

STS officers with a Sponge-grenade gun.

Medical[edit | edit source]

Riot Control[edit | edit source]

Lethal and Less-Than-Lethal Deterrents[edit | edit source]

Others[edit | edit source]

Major Incidences[edit | edit source]

Occupy Central, Umbrella Revolution, Umbrella Movement[edit | edit source]

2016 Mong Kok Civil Unrest[edit | edit source]

2016 Anti-Interpretation Protest[edit | edit source]

2019 anti extradiditon bill protests[edit | edit source]

Squads were deployed to disperse the crowds after clashes between the protesters and the police started. During some of the protests in August, protesters threw Molotov cocktails, bricks, metal pipes etc., and the squads deployed tear gas canisters, rubber bullet, beanbag rounds to disperse them. Some of the officers were accused for using excessive force during arrests and while dispersing the protesters.

Action Record[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hong Kong: Arbitrary arrests, brutal beatings and torture in police detention revealed "amnesty.org" 19th of September, 2019
  2. Police Tactical Unit officially name the "Special Tactical Squad" "on.cc" 1st of December, 2014
  3. What's the name of the blue shirt unit? "Metro Daily" 12th of December, 2014
  4. Police Elite Team rapidly removes obstructors[dead link] "Singpao" 1st of December, 2014
  5. New shorts and beret "Offbeat" 724th Publication
  6. Blue uniformed unit officially named "Special Tactical Squad" "Oriental Daily" 1st of December, 2014
  7. Anti-cut Gloves "Oriental Daily" March 9th, 2015
  8. New boots for blue berets "Offbeat" 761st Publication
  9. OC Water Jet Pack even stronger than pepper spray 852Post 25th November, 2014
  10. New respirator pouch 《Offbeat》 721st Publication
  11. OC Spray and Pepper Spray "Oriental Daily" 26th November, 2014
  12. Protesters and the Speedy Dragons "Oriental Daily" 2/12/2014
  13. Protesters and the Speedy Dragons "The Sun, Oriental Daily" 2/12/2014
  14. CP and SDG members thank officers for contributing to Operation SOLARPEAK "Offbeat" 1033rd Publication
  15. CP encourages officers engaged in Operation SOLARPEAK "Offbeat" 1025th Publication

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