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Bodyguards trained to protect the rich

(Global Times)

08:32, September 01, 2011

Candidates walk on their hands as part of a training exercise at a bodyguard camp in Nandaihe, Heibei Province. (Photo: courtesy of Beijing Genghis Security Advisor Ltd/Global Times)

A young man sank into a sofa in the corner of an office, eating a big takeout meal during another hot Beijing summer afternoon.

"I have just finished the training sessions," said Hu Junjie, a weary and exhausted 21-year-old.

Hu, a former artilleryman with the People's Liberation Army (PLA), is from a small city in East China's Anhui Province. He returned to the capital after attending a one-month intensive training camp for bodyguards along the beach of an island off the coast of Nandaihe in Hebei Province.

The camp is the first of its kind in China since the country lifted the ban on private security services last year, amid a booming market for bodyguards among China's upper class.

"There is a great demand for bodyguards in China," said Yang Yongmo, spokesman for Genghis Security Advisor Ltd, (GSA) in Beijing, a company that specializes in providing exclusive bodyguard services as well as the organizer of the training camp.

Intensive training

Hu began his military career as an artilleryman with the PLA in December 2008 right after he graduated from high school. He left the army after he completed his two-year service in December of last year.

Hu paid about 11,300 yuan ($1,770) to attend the bodyguard training camp, which posts recruitment advertisements on the Internet. Forty-two people including six women attended the training camp that kicked off on August 1.

The grueling physical training included such tasks as dragging a log for three kilometers, carrying a tire for five kilometers, doing push-ups in the water, and learning the same combative techniques used in the Israeli army.

"The training here is much easier than what I went through in the army," said Hu. "While here at the camp I once knocked down two trainees at the same time."
However, the other aspiring bodyguards do not share Hu's opinion.

"The 21-day intensive training program has just started. The first day is already hard enough. I feel like I have already experienced several days of training. It's 10 pm. and I'm very sleepy, but night training doesn't end until midnight," one trainee wrote in his notebook found at the GSA's office.

"During the training program candidates were only allowed five hours of sleep, and there were often emergency musters that only allowed them to sleep for one or two hours," said Hu.

According to the spokesperson, one person failed a test and was dismissed while another two people quit within the first week. During the rigorous course the trainees were taught essential bodyguard skills such as how to identify threatening people, how to protect clients, and tips on proper business manners.

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