Monday, May 29, 2006

Singapore, Host of 2006 IMF/WB Annual Meeting Gears Up for Summit

WITH less than four months to go before Singapore hosts the International Monetary Fund and World Bank summit, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng has called on the Republic's police force to ready itself for any potential security threats. As 16,000 luminaries are arriving from some 184 countries for the conferences in September, security is expected to be at an all-time high.

Speaking at the annual Police Workplan Seminar yesterday, which was attended by some 900 police officers, grassroots leaders and corporate partners, Mr Wong said: "The police must be well prepared to ensure the safety of the delegates attending the event and of our people. Apart from law and order problems, the police must also take into account the terrorist threat of such a high profile event."

While commending the security measures for the 117th International Olympic Committee Session held here last year, Mr Wong stressed that the police "cannot allow disorder and a chaotic situation to undermine security".

"The police must ensure that while legitimate and peaceful activity, whether by local or foreign groups, can proceed in accordance with our laws, those who choose to breach our laws must be dealt with firmly."

Meanwhile, the police are spending more than $18.4 million to boost its operational capabilities in dealing with public disorder. For one, customised, portable barricades are being developed. These "public order barricades" can be transformed into a 2.5metre-tall structure weighing 500kg to respond to different "threat levels". They are also built with razor mesh on top to prevent rioters from climbing over.

Over the last two years, the police have also been conceptualising purpose-built vehicles that it expects to roll out in September.

Its Neighbourhood Police Centre has developed a multi-functional van, which besides patrolling and transporting personnel in custody can also be deployed to maintain public order. The police are bringing in 33 units of the vehicle at $140,000 each. Equipped with an automated barricade fence, the windows of the 4.25-tonne vehicle are reinforced by security mesh and its undercarriage is protected against petrol bombs.

The Special Operations Command, which is primarily responsible for police tactical operations, maintenance of public order and security, is also building up its capabilities through the acquisition of three new types of vehicles to aid its operations.

Over the next three months, its Police Tactical Unit will bring in 47 vehicles at a cost of $13.79 million. Designed to withstand impact, these purpose-built vehicles also come with protective features such as an undercarriage fire extinguishing system and a ventilation system that prevents harmful gases from seeping in. They are also equipped with features such as detachable, front-mounted barricades, strobe lights, gun ports and 360-degree video recording systems.

But even though such hardware is important, Mr Wong yesterday also reiterated the importance of community involvement in Singapore's fight against terrorism and crimes. Pointing out that 42 per cent of arrests for major crimes last year were made with public assistance, as compared to 39 per cent and 37 per cent in 2004 and 2003 respectively, he said: "Engaging the community stakeholders will continue to be a key pillar in the police's strategy to fight crime and terrorism.

"The public confidence in the police and the public's willingness to come forward to help is encouraging. Police must treasure this public trust."


Coming from the hosts of the IMF/WB Annual Meetings who had openly declared that they would not hesitate to cane protestors, Singapore seems to think that plenty of blood will be shed on that draconian state of theirs.

The hardware purchased seem to ensure that the Meeting would be a bloody stage.

If such measures are already taken, would protestors be even allowed to protest? So much for human rights.

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