SWAT team leader ‘gunned down five Kunming terrorists in 15 seconds’

Masked woman was first to be shot as she lunged at team leader

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2014, 12:33pm

Keira Lu Huang [email protected]

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Members of a SWAT force take part in drills in Hainan province. A four-member SWAT team in Kunming succeeded in shooting five attackers. Photo: Xinhua

The SWAT team leader deployed to the scene as knife-wielding attackers hacked passengers to death at Kunming railway station said he shot five terrorists in 15 seconds, preventing further bloodshed.

After twice firing warning shots, captain Zhang Jun (his real name was withheld for security purposes) gunned down a masked woman who lunged at him with a knife, before rapidly shooting another four of the attackers, the Legal Daily newspaper reported.

Zhang and his three-man Yunnan Kunming SWAT team were patrolling the city of three million people when they received an emergency call to drive to the station.

Watch: SWAT team leader recounts brush with death 
I didn’t have time to think, I shot them as fast as I could. After I shot all five, the first one, also the nearest to me, stood up again and threw a knife at me. Luckily I tilted my head

Zhang Jun, SWAT leader

CCTV said the crack team arrived 10 minutes after the attack had started, only to be greeted by scenes of chaos. Crowds were fleeing and the attackers – who government officials have said were terrorists from the restive Xinjiang region – were randomly stabbing and slashing civilians.

“Put down the knife,” Zhang shouted at the attackers after firing a shot overhead, causing them to turn their deadly blades towards him.

Zhang – the only team member with an automatic rifle – fired another warning shot but the attackers continued to advance, he said.

Leading the pack running towards him was a female assailant wearing a burka-like black mask. When she was almost upon him Zhang shot her.

“The closest one to me was less than two metres [away]. If I hesitated for one more second, I would be dead now,” Zhang said.

Emergency staff attend to the victims, as seen in an internet photo.

The other four assailants did not back down, however.

“I didn’t have time to think, I shot them as fast as I could,” said Zhang. “After I shot all five, the first one, also the nearest to me, stood up again and threw a knife at me. Luckily I tilted my head.”

The entire attack at the railway station lasted for about 25 minutes, leaving 33 dead and more than 140 injured, including several policemen.

Xinhua reported that the thugs – eight in total – may have received training beforehand, as they appeared to be expert at hacking people down on the spot. Chaos and crowds left defenceless civilians struggling to fin an escape route.

Blood is seen on the ground outside after a knife attack at Kunming railway station. Photo: Reuters

The SWAT leader, whose team is under the Kunming Public Security Bureau’s Guandu substation, said Saturday’s attack was his first real crisis operation. He said the experience would stay with him for the rest of his life.

“I didn’t have time to be scared. Everything was counted in seconds, from me getting out of the car to shooting. If I had thought twice and didn’t take down the terrorists, more civilians would be injured or killed,” said Zhang.

State-run broadcaster CCTV aired the interview with Zhang nationwide. The other three SWAT members have yet to come forward with their accounts.

Police and emergency crew stand guard oustide the Kunming Railway Station in Kunming after being alerted to the attack. Photo: Xinhua

“I think being a police officer is a very noble profession. Wherever the danger is, once the civilians need us to help, to crack down terror, we need to stay in the front lines,” Zhang said.

Official mainland reports said five of the terrorists were shot at the scene, four fatally with one wounded and captured.

Three more suspects have since been detained, the government said last night.

The alleged mastermind behind the attack has was identified as Abdurehim Kurban, but it was not clear if he was among the dead or those arrested.

Clannad – Harry's Game

Harry’s Game was an ITV drama about Captain Harry Brown – an SAS undercover agent – infiltrating the IRA. Harry was on a mission to find the assassin of a British Cabinet Minister in the Falls Road area of Belfast. Harry was alone: not even the army was told of his presence; his wife was fed up with him. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensued, in which many innocent lives were impacted and neither side could win. Harry befriended a local woman who fell for him, and in turn was consumed by Harry’s relentless search for the assassin. The IRA soon realised they had an informant in their midst and brought in the same assassin to hunt down Harry. The play’s ending was sad: the betrayed and by now dead Harry was lying on a dirty street as the locals just stepped over his body, ignoring it.

The series’ contained loose parallels with the real-life events of both Grenadier Guards/SAS Captain Robert Nairac, and his murder by the IRA in 1977, and the 1979 assassination of Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Airey Neave.

The series’ theme tune was performed by Clannad and was successfully released as a single, reaching the top five in both Ireland and the United Kingdom and bringing Clannad its first major international exposure.

The lyrics to the song were written to depict the story of The Troubles (Irish euphemism for a partial civil-war), among all sides in Northern Ireland, (Nationalist, Republican, Unionist and Loyalist). The lyrics, derive from an ancient Celt text, explaining how in war and in violence, no side wins – that all lose.

“I will go east and go west From whence came the moon and the sun
Fol lol the doh, fol the day
Fol the doh, fol the day
The moon and the sun will go
And the young man with his reputation behind him
I will go wherever he came from
The young man with his reputation behind him.”

De Oppresso Liber


De oppresso liber is the motto of the United States Army Special Forces.

“The turbulent have to be corrected,
The faint-hearted cheered up,
The weak supported;
The Gospel’s opponents need to be refuted,

Its insidious enemies guarded against;
The unlearned need to be taught,
The indolent stirred up,
The argumentative checked;

The proud must be put in their place,
The desperate set on their feet,
Those engaged in quarrels reconciled;
The needy have to be helped,

The oppressed to be liberated,
The good to be encouraged,
The bad to be tolerated;
All must be loved.

Corripiendi sunt inquieti,
pusillanimes consolandi,
infirmi suscipiendi,
contradicentes redarguendi,

insidiantes cavendi,
imperiti docendi,
desidiosi excitandi,
contentiosi cohibendi,

superbientes reprimendi,
desperantes erigendi,
litigantes pacandi,
inopes adiuvandi,

oppressi liberandi,
boni approbandi,
mali tolerandi,
omnes amandi.

~ Augustine of Hippo (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430)