Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Singapore shoots down "rumor" of APEC attack plot

Singapore has downplayed media reports of a plot to attack an Asia-Pacific summit in the city-state in November, the Straits Times newspaper reported on Monday.

"The rumors are rumors. You check it, if it is unverifiable, you know you can't be chasing after every rumor,' Second Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam was quoted by the daily as saying during a mock terrorist attack exercise on Sunday.

The Singapore Police Force and the Ministry of Home Affairs were not available for immediate comment.

An intelligence analyst from the Center for Intelligence and National Security in Indonesia told Reuters last week probes into last month's bombings in Jakarta had uncovered a plot to target the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Singapore.

U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders of the 21-member APEC group will attend the mid-November summit in Singapore, a regional financial center and shipping hub.

The investigation also revealed that terrorists planned to use snipers to attack Obama's convoy during a planned visit to Indonesia around the same time.

Shanmugam said Singaporean authorities took security "very seriously."

"Wherever the President of the United States, or various heads of states visit, you obviously take the appropriate security precautions," he said. "For a small country like us, this is not just an issue of preparing against terrorist attacks, it's creating a mindset and understanding within our population that (in) any kind of emergency, we are all able to respond," Shanmugam said.

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