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May 15, 2014

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SWAT teams join railway patrols

SWAT police and other armed officers joined railway police patrolling Shanghai’s main stations yesterday.

While railway stations and surrounding areas had previously been the domain of railway police, they have now been joined by these specialist officers and district police.

Local police decided to enhance their anti-terrorist force in transport hubs, especially city railway stations, after attacks at railway stations in Kunming and Urumqi in recent months.

The city is also about to host delegations from nearly 40 countries and international organizations at the Shanghai Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

The gathering on May 20 and 21 will be chaired by President Xi Jinping.

“What we are doing is not just for the Asian summit but for our people’s security,” said Liu Yanping, vice-minister of the Ministry of Public Security.

Liu said combined patrols are likely to continue after the summit.

Police at Shanghai South Railway Station have now created a joint command structure with police in Xuhui District. Patrol teams there include regular district officers, railway police, armed officers and SWAT police.

In an exercise there yesterday, armed officers rushed to the scene, followed by other groups — including a vehicle containing four officers with shields, batons and fire extinguishers.

“One third of ordinary officers have a gun and each SWAT team member has two,” said Hong Feng, chief of police at  the railway station.

“We also have trained railway station staff, including security guards and cleaners, how to evacuate people in an emergency.”

At Hongqiao Transport Hub, including Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, police dogs are also being deployed.

Meanwhile, all passengers and baggage at the city’s two airports will be tested for explosives from today as part of tightened security over the Asian summit.

More passengers will also undergo random body searches under the stricter controls at the Pudong and Hongqiao international airports, the airport authority said.

Passengers are advised to come to airports at least two hours before takeoff, to ensure they pass through security in good time.

“More security check channels will be opened and there will be more staff on duty to speed up the flow,” said the airport authority.

The airport authority has already introduced wider security checks this month.


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