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August 27, 2009

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X-ray vision: beef-up for rail security

TWO X-ray scanners were yesterday put into use at the Metro Line 1's Shanghai Railway Station in a pilot test to beef up security with less than 250 days before the start of the 2010 World Expo.

The Metro authorities said they planned to add more machines to busy stations on other lines and stations near the Expo site.

About 30 such devices and 90 portable detectors will be put into use for the city's 280 Metro stations, according to government officials.

And 5,000 more cameras will be installed in Metro stations near the Expo zone.

Security is a vital issue as 3.2 million commuters are using the subway daily and numbers are increasing.

Metro security guards and volunteers are now carrying out spot checks at some stations using portable detectors. They usually check commuters for banned items such as fireworks, gasoline, poisons, corrosive materials and chemicals.

Random security checks on passengers take about 30 seconds to a minute, according to officials.

Police said they would discuss detailed plans on security during the Expo with the Metro operator, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group.

Shanghai police stepped up checks on banned items on public transport after the June 5 Chengdu bus blaze, when a man deliberately ignited gas in the capital of Sichuan Province, killing 27 people.

This year, more than 2,000 people have been found carrying dangerous goods and 7,500-plus banned goods have been seized, according to Metro police. People carrying banned items face up to 15 days' detention and other penalties.


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