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It's a dog's life in the armed police force

(China Daily)

10:41, November 23, 2012

Hu Xiongbing and his new dog, Taizi, train at the police dog base of the seventh detachment of Guangdong Provincial Frontier Defense Corps of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force in Shenzhen on Nov 6. [Photo/China Daily]

As Hu Xiongbing talks about his job, Heizi, his large German shepherd, watches him intently, as if the dog understands every word.

Theirs is an unbreakable bond that has existed for more than eight years, ever since the Guangdong Provincial Frontier Defense Corps of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force brought the duo together.

"I still remember the first time I saw him, when he was 8 months old," Hu said. "He was so fierce and kept trying to bite me.

"In the corps, you don't get to choose your dog, it is chosen for you, so I had no other choice. Eventually, after giving him lots of treats, his attitude improved and finally he accepted me."

That was in 2002. Today, Heizi is a highly trained police sniffer dog and has been part of many missions.

In 2010, he was part of patrols for the Asian Games in the provincial capital of Guangzhou, covering public places such as stadiums and transport hubs. He found five bullets hidden in the trunk of a car when Hu and his colleagues searched a hotel.

"When he finds something, he will not bark. He will simply stop, lie down and look me in the eyes," his handler said.

Hu, 27, is the most senior trainer with the corps' seventh detachment, which is based close to Meilin Reservoir in Shenzhen.

He joined the armed police in 2001, leaving his hometown in Meizhou, also in Guangdong province. He grew up playing with large dogs in his neighborhood.

"My family was still not satisfied with my job choice, though," he said. "They are afraid I'll be injured because the police dogs are so fierce. But I love it."

Police dogs are divided into three groups ― those that search for explosives, drugs and suspects.

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