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May 30, 2014

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Shanghai expands anti-terror security drive

THE city’s anti-terror security net will be tightened with stricter checks at Metro stations and armed patrols at major transportation hubs, local police said yesterday.

The added measures are in response to last week’s suicide terrorist attack on an pedestrian street in Urumqi, which killed 39 people in the capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

SWAT teams in Huangpu District will be dispatched to the Tianzifang area and the SML shopping center, expanding their surveillance from other popular gathering spots such as the Bund, People’s Square, Yuyuan Garden, Xintiandi and Nanjing Road.

Police said they aim to shorten the response time by the SWAT team in case of a terror attack from the previous three minutes to one minute. A SWAT vehicle will be on standby at every police station in the district, police said.

Impact barriers have been erected around People’s Square, the Bund and Nanjing Road to prevent cars from crashing into pedestrians.

Emergency response equipment such as fire extinguishers, explosion-proof blankets and searchlights have been placed near the entrances of stores along popular shopping streets.

Police at the Hongqiao Transportation Hub in Changning and Minhang districts will use dog patrols to sniff out trouble, and devices have been installed at the underground garage to automatically record license plates.

Police said they had set up a WeChat group for hub staff to report any suspicious activities.

Armed police and citizen volunteers dispatched during an Asian regional summit last week to help guard Metro stations have been withdrawn. Regular police officers will be on duty during rush hours to assist Metro police.

Backpacks and other large bags will be required to pass a security check and smaller bags will be checked randomly. People carrying more than one bottle of liquid will also be checked.

However, Metro passengers won’t be subjected to body checks, at least for now.

Metro police said they seized 1,942 “dangerous items” during the summit, including 604 knives, 23 fake guns and 125 liters of flammable liquid. Thirty-six people were detained  for suspicious activities, and 12 people were taken into custody and charged with assaulting officers after refusing to submit to security checks.

Other districts in the city have also announced heightened security measures.


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