Counter-terrorism seminar: Venue operators say they are alert to security threats

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Mr Lau Peet Meng, addressing the participants of the Safety & Security Watch Group counter-terrorism seminar at Hwa Chong Institution on June 8, 2017.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Mr Lau Peet Meng, addressing the participants of the Safety & Security Watch Group counter-terrorism seminar at Hwa Chong Institution on June 8, 2017.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - From bag-checks to frequent patrols, and the use of closed-circuit cameras (CCTV), representatives of several venues that host large-scale events spoke of the security measures they employ given the security climate.

They were participating in a counter-terrorism seminar on Thursday (June 8) organised by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Close to 300 people attended the one-day event at Hwa Chong Institution.

Mr Lee Cheow Hiang, security director of Sentosa Development Corporation, said people have to put up with certain inconveniences, like increased bag checks, as they are necessary.

Sentosa has hosted beach parties including Zouk Out, Asia's largest dance music festival. About 50,000 people attended the 2014 event.

His view was shared by other participants in charge of security from about 100 international schools, recreational and sports clubs, and foreign worker dormitories.

Besides conducting bag checks, security staff are trained to pick up on suspicious behaviour, said Mr Lee, who has 20 years of experience in the security industry.

He gave the example of someone carrying a large bag to a beach party as a telltale sign.

A spokesman for the Singapore Turf Club said with thousands attending a horse race, it will not be feasible to check every race-goer.

Instead, the club relies on CCTV operators and staff on the ground to be well-trained at identifying suspicious behaviour. Frequency of patrols has also been increased.

Other participants said not all measures need to be intrusive.

Mr Kenny Goh, 70, club manager at Changi Golf Club, said: "For larger events, we request the personal particulars of the guests who accompany our club members, so we know exactly who comes into our premises."

In the first Singapore Terrorism Threat Assessment Report issued last Thursday (June 1), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that Singapore faces its highest terror threat level in recent years, giving added significance to the seminar.

Participants heard from representatives of MHA, SPF and SCDF on various topics relating to handling of terrorist threats, such as lock-down procedures and contingency planning.

This is the 11th seminar organised by the SPF and SCDF for different industries. The first seminar was held last July (2016) for the retail industry.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Lau Peet Meng, 42, who was the guest-of-honour, said: "I'm very glad today that we have participants from a very wide range of industries."

"That reflects also the nature of the impact of terrorism. It does not just affect police or security agencies, but everyone."