Maritime agency adds 1st female SWAT member“I like all kinds of activities in the water, even though they are dangerous,” said Jeong Hyeon-yeong, 25, who last month became the first and only female member of the National Maritime Police Agency’s SWAT team in Jeju island.
Her love for the water started from childhood, when she wanted to become a lifeguard. But after majoring in safety management at Busan College of Information Technology, she became an officer in the National Maritime Police Agency in 2002.
Her superiors at the agency noted her athletic abilities and certificates in swimming and lifeguarding, so they recommended that she should be allowed to skip the physical test to become a member of the SWAT team.
Ms. Jeong is only 160 centimeters (5 foot, 3 inches) tall and weighs 47 kilograms (103.6 pounds), but she’s proved that she’s no lightweight when it comes to sports. She is an expert in martial arts, such as taekwondo, kendo and judo. She also scuba dives and swims competitively. In a triathlon held in Korea in July, she placed fifth in the women’s division.
Ms. Jeong starts her day with swimming right after she wakes up. Before going to bed, she does 60 sit-ups and 30 push-ups.
“But there is one thing that I cannot do well,” Ms. Jeong admitted. “It’s chin-ups.” Her hands are still not strong enough to grab onto something for a long time, she said.
She said she was a bit worried because soon she’d have to jump off a helicopter, only holding a rope, without any safety equipment, as part of her SWAT team training.
When it comes to her job, which includes inspecting and rescuing stranded ships, she’s just like anyone else on the team. Earlier this month, her team rescued a ship that was stuck in the sea 12 miles north of Jeju Port. She jumped into the water and cut a rope that was coiled around the screw propeller, risking severe injury had the propeller started working.
by Kim Jun-sul