SINGAPORE - The spectator stands at the Padang, where this year's National Day Parade is to be held, was punctured by gunshots and screams early on Friday morning (Aug 2) as the police staged a large-scale counter-terrorism exercise.
Several "gunmen" opened fire at "spectators" where they were seated, but the perpetrators were swiftly taken out by first responders - the Emergency Response Team and Ground Response Force, both from the Singapore Police Force.
Right after this first threat was contained, four more "gunmen" showed up in the neighbouring section.
But a second wave of responders from the Gurkha Contingent, Rapid Deployment Troops and Special Tactics and Rescue Unit swarmed in to neutralise the threat.
Once the area was secured, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers conducted rescue operations and attended to the injured.
The exercise was one of the largest-ever security demonstrations by the police, meant to showcase their capabilities in dealing with armed attacks.
More than 200 officers from Clementi Police Division, Public Transport Security Command, Special Operations Command, Gurkha Contingent, and the SCDF were involved in the exercise held a week before Singapore's birthday bash.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, who observed the exercise, said that the NDP is an iconic event for Singapore and the police take security at the event very seriously.
Earlier at the City Hall MRT Station, another threat scenario had four officers from the Public Transport Security Command take down two men wielding knives, but not before one of them held a "commuter" hostage when confronted by the police officers. The hostage escaped unharmed.
Mr Shanmugam said it is important to secure the seven MRT stations around the Padang, where thousands of people will pass through, to assure members of public.
"That assurance works two ways. One, we have to have internal assurance in our own people. And of course, members of the public will also be assured by seeing the presence and abilities."
He added that the police take the primary role in counter-terrorism efforts within Singapore, and the Singapore Armed Forces will provide support as required by the police.
The SCDF had conducted an exercise at the Padang as well. The exercise on July 24, which involved 400 participants and 42 emergency vehicles, was to test its response to a fire and a chemical agent release.
The police said on Thursday that this year's NDP had been declared an enhanced security special event under the Public Order Act.
A list of items will be prohibited within a special event area around the Padang, including loudhailers, firearms, and unmanned aerial vehicles.