Singapore

Gunfire in Tampines during counter-terrorism exercise

Terrorist attacks were simulated islandwide in Singapore's largest counter-terrorism exercise ever held. The two-day event, which began on Monday, saw more than 3,000 personnel responding to the 'attacks' and taking down the terrorists

Early yesterday morning, gunfire and screams erupted at malls in Tampines and Bishan.

Masked gunmen armed with rifles and explosive vests flooded the malls, taking hostages at some point, and gunning down civilians.

But within minutes of the 12.30am attack, men in black from the Singapore Police Force's Emergency Response Team (ERT) and the Singapore Armed Force's (SAF) Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) rushed to the scene and swarmed the gunmen.

These were some of the scenarios that played out across the island while most Singaporeans were sound asleep. They were part of the largest counter-terrorism exercise ever held here.

The two-day anti-terror exercise, which began on Monday morning, was conducted by the police and supported by other Home Team agencies and the SAF.

At Junction 8 mall, the Army Deployment Force blocked the terrorists' escape routes, sealing their fates.


JUNCTION 8 MALL: The Singapore Police Force's ERT, together with the Army's SOTF and ADF teams engaged in a fierce firefight with terrorists. TNP PHOTO: AHMAD FARUQ BIN ROZALI

At Tampines mall, when some of the terrorists barricaded themselves with more hostages in a Golden Village cinema, the SOTF counter-terrorists swiftly blew down the doors and stormed the place.

The 19 terrorists were eventually killed or arrested after a fierce gunfight.

Paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force then rushed to tend to the wounded. A medical support vehicle, acting as a mobile hospital, was also set up for the more serious cases. But the threat was not over.

At the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) officers and the SAF's Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives (CBRE) personnel had to deal with threats of an escaping terrorist and a vehicle rigged with explosives.


AT TAMPINES MALL: The Singapore Police Force's Anti-Swarming Team take out eight terrorists who were armed with explosives and firearms. TNP PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The exercise was meant to test the readiness and emergency response of various agencies.

More than 3,200 personnel, as well as more than 50 volunteers from the People's Association and Civil Defence Lionhearters took part.

FIRST TIME

This was also the first time pre- and post-attack measures — such as deterrence patrols all over the island in commercial areas, MRT stations, the heartlands and the checkpoints — were included.

At around 6pm, blue-clad SPF Ground Response Force officers were seen patrolling JEM and Westgate shopping malls together with Public Transport Security Command and SAF's Island Defence Task Force officers.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, together with Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung, were at Tampines on Tuesday morning to observe the joint exercise.

Speaking to the media after the exercise, DPM Teo said the multi-agency exercise was important in bringing together the Home Team agencies and the SAF to prepare for such an attack. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police Lau Peet Meng said the exercise had given officers more confidence in tackling multiple terror attacks.

"The exercise had allowed us to become more familiar with each other's operating procedure, instilling confidence from our ground troops to the command elements, and also with the community," he said.

The exercise comes as Singapore ramps up its readiness in tackling terror attacks.

Last month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched SGSecure, a nationwide movement which aims to increase the public's preparedness and resilience.

terrorismSingapore Armed ForcesDefence (Singapore)