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Snow Leopard Commando Unit
SWCU patch.jpg
The arm patch formerly used by SWCU operators
Active December 2002 (existence only revealed in 2006)[1] - Present
Country People's Republic of China
Branch People's Armed Police
Type Special Forces
Role Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
Size 300 operators[2][3]
Part of As the 3rd Group of the 13th Detachment under the PAP's Beijing General Corps[4]
Nickname As Snow Wolf Commando Unit: SWCU
As Snow Leopard Command Unit: SLCU
Colors White With Blood Specs
March Goose Step
Engagements Conducted security operations in the 2008 Summer Olympics

The Snow Leopard Commando Unit (Abbreviation: SLCU; Simplified Chinese: 雪豹突击队) is a special police unit of the People's Republic of China under the People's Armed Police,[1] tasked with counter-terrorism, riot control, and other special tasks such as anti-hijacking, and bomb disposal. The SLCU, along with the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau's Beijing SWAT unit, was tasked with many of the security responsibilities of the 2008 Summer Olympics.[5] Officially, the SLCU is known to be as the 3rd Group, 13th Detachment, People's Armed Police Beijing General Corp.

The former Snow Wolf name was bestowed on the unit because of the known tenacity of arctic wolves and their ability to both survive and thrive in extremely harsh conditions.[6]



After its secret establishment in 2002, the SWCU unit had been trained out of the public eye for five years.[7] The SWCU and the Beijing SWAT unit were unveiled in a demonstration at the Beijing Police Academy in April 27, 2006[8] as part of a public relations effort to illustrate the capabilities of the People's Armed Police to deal with terrorism issues, protection of delegates, and to enforce law and order in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.[1] The SLCU had participated in anti-terrorist exercises with Russia on September 4, 2007 known as "Cooperation-2007."[9]

The unit had undergone a name change from its first name, now known officially as the Snow Leopard Commando Unit.[6] According to Qu Liangfeng, a senior PAP officer in charge of the daily operations of SLCU, he said the name change was "inspired by the story of a brave and cunning snow leopard, which escaped an ambush by a hunter and his eight hunting dogs".[6]

Training and selection

Only officers who have served in the People's Armed Police for a period of 1 to 2 years are eligible to apply, after which they will be put through a process of interviews, physical and psychological tests.[1] The current average age (as of 2006) of SLCU officers is 22 years, as most of them entered the unit when they were about 18, thus making them amongst the youngest in the counter-terrorist community.[10]

The officers who are eventually selected for the course go through an arduous period of physical training, vehicle driving lessons for various vehicles, and weapons training.[11][12] Their physical training includes 200 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 100 squats, lifting barbells 200 times and carrying a 35 kg load for a 10 km cross-country run.[1] They are then assigned to the Beijing General Corps' 13th Detachment, where the SLCU is based.[3][4]


The SLCU consists of four squadrons assigned with very specific responsibilities:[3]

Squadron Duty
9th/10th Squadron Counter-Terrorism
11th Squadron Obstacle Removal, Bomb Disposal, Anti-WMD Terrorism
12th Squadron Snipers

Weapons and equipment

The SLCU was shown in the demonstrations armed with the QBZ-95 series of rifles and QSZ-92 pistols, but they will most probably also be armed with a wide variety of sub-machine guns and other weapons.[13] The unit has spent about CNY 2 million (approximately US$ 258,000) in domestically manufactured armoured personnel carriers for riot-control and has also imported CNY 4 million worth of American manufactured vehicles and equipment.[13]

Each SLCU operator is estimated to be outfitted with CNY 300,000 (approximately US$ 39,000) worth of equipment, including their body armour, communications equipment, etc.[14][2]



The standard uniform layout has the arm patch sewn on the right arm, with the unit badge above the right breast pocket. The words "SPECIAL POLICE GRP" (Special Police Group) is embroidered on the right side of the tactical vest or body armour. It is interesting to note that this is a divergence from all the other P.R.C. uniformed units, which have their badges and patches embroidered on the left side of their uniforms instead.


  1. ^ a b c d e "装备堪比欧美:中国雪狼突击队揭开神秘面纱" (in Chinese). Sina. 2006-09-13. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  2. ^ a b "Anti-terrorism force in action ahead of Olympics". 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  3. ^ a b c "People's Armed Police Special Police Units". Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  4. ^ a b "People's Armed Police Beijing General Corps". Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  5. ^ "People's Armed Police Special Police Units". Archived from the original on 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  6. ^ a b c "Beijing's Answer to Bond". Beijing Review. 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  7. ^ "Missiles, 100K police on China's Olympic team". USA Today. 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  8. ^ "图文:雪狼突击队员手持95式自动步枪射击" (in Chinese). 2006-09-13. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  9. ^ "Sino-Russian Anti-terror Exercise Kicks Off". Xinhua. 2007-09-04. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  10. ^ "直击北京奥运反恐训练:雪狼突击队秘密集训3年" (in Chinese). 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  11. ^ "Snow Leopards, Blue Swords ready to keep Games safe". Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  12. ^ "Snow Leopard Commando Ready for Combat". CRI English. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  13. ^ a b "奥运安保进入实战演练 反恐精英雪狼突击队(图)" (in Chinese). 2008-01-06. 
  14. ^ "奥运雪狼:北京奥运反恐训练直击" (in Chinese). 2006-08-10. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 


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