Israeli Police Trained Chinese Counterparts Prior to Olympics

Haifa stadium turned into mock Beijing Bird's Nest during six-week course in riot control and counter terror.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Israel Police held secret training for Chinese police officers ahead of the recent Olympic Games, Haaretz has learned. The approximately six-week course was held in Israel for about 20 selected officers of the People's Armed Police Force, to use Israeli experience to train them for possible scenarios involving terror and civil disturbances at the Games.

The training involved, among other things, how to neutralize terrorists with their bare hands, how to deal with a crowd that riots on the playing field, and how to protect VIPS and remove demonstrators from main traffic arteries.

The Chinese officers arrived in Israel last May for the training, at the request of the Chinese public safety ministry. Brigadier General Bentzi Sau was appointed head of the project and designed the training program.

All the police and Border Police officers participating in the program underwent a series of lectures by Foreign Ministry officials to sensitize them to cultural differences and make it easier for both groups to find a common language.

The Border Police base at Beit Horon was set up to accommodate the guests, including lessons in Chinese cuisine for police cooks.

For purposes of the training, the Kiryat Eliezer soccer stadium in Haifa played the part of the Bird's Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing.

The officers learned how to take over a hijacked bus and identify a car rigged with explosives, and trained with M-16 rifles and Jericho pistols.

Although the main focus of the training was to give the Chinese police the tools necessary to handle terrorist attacks, they also learned how to handle mass civilian demonstrations.

The police also used the time the group was here to teach them about Israel.

They went on trips through the country including the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, the Western Wall and the Dead Sea.

The course's closing ceremony was held in the presence of Police Commissioner David Cohen and senior Chinese Embassy officials in Israel.

Haaretz has learned that the commander of the People's Armed Police Force, General Wu Shuangzhan, has expressed an interest in continued cooperation between Israeli and Chinese police following the success of the course. The police has declined to comment on the matter.

The Chinese officials had asked the police and the Foreign Ministry not to report on the course in the media, and sources in Israel expressed concern that a report would harm future cooperation between the two police forces.

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