Singapore

More security over holiday period

Crowd control measures will be deployed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in areas where large numbers of people are expected

The festive season is about to kick into high gear and so are security checks.

Crowd control measures will be deployed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in areas where large numbers of people are expected, the police said yesterday. These areas include shopping belt Orchard Road, nightlife hub Clarke Quay and tourist spot Gardens by the Bay.

Police officers, auxiliary police officers and security officers will be deployed to ensure the safety and security of the public.

Officers from the Protective Security Command, Emergency Response Teams and the Special Operations Command will also be out on patrol.

The police advises the public to cooperate with security personnel when asked to offer their bags and personal items for checks.

Professor Rohan Gunaratna, head of International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Singapore, said there has been a trend for Al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria groups to target Christians.

Also, given the latter's significant losses in Iraq and Syria, affiliated groups - such as those in South-east Asia - will want to conduct revenge attacks.

He added: "It is absolutely necessary at this time that the public cooperate fully with the authorities... Signs and clues of an attack can always be detected by the public."

Orchard Road Business Association's executive director Steven Goh said: "Orchard Road is an important, busy street. It is a target for anybody who wants to create disorder... The flow of traffic and people may slow down, but the inconvenience is necessary to have a safe place people can enjoy."

Crowd control barricades and direction signs will be put up in crowded areas to facilitate safe and orderly dispersal.

The public is also advised to be vigilant against molesters. There has been previous incidents where culprits sprayed foam into the eyes of their victims before molesting them.

At the same time, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will be stepping up security checks and patrols at Singapore checkpoints during the festive period.

ICA said yesterday more time will be needed for immigration clearance and advised travellers to factor this in their journeys. There will be enhanced checks on vehicles at land checkpoints, with officers checking under car bonnets and in car boots.

ICA advised motorists to check the traffic situation through the Land Transport Authority's One Motoring website before starting their journeys. - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY TOH WEN LI

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