Singapore

Singaporean travellers unfazed by Batam terror threats

Fliers and letters containing alleged terror threats on Batam have been circulating, but Singapore travellers seemed unperturbed.

When The New Paper contacted hotels in the nearby Indonesian destination, they said they had received calls from concerned travellers, but there were no cancellations.

Mr Vico Alfarin, a sales executive with Batam View Beach Resort, said: "There is a tour group that is re-considering their stay here, but none has cancelled so far."

Harmoni One Convention Hotel & Service Apartments marketing executive Nadya Setoresmi also confirmed that although many had called in, none of them cancelled.

"The issue cropped up yesterday, and many called to ask whether the ferry terminal is safe, and whether our hotel has ramped up our security measures. However, we have yet to receive any cancellation," said Ms Setoresmi.

At the Singapore Cruise Centre, crowds were spotted waiting for their weekend getaway to Batam.

One woman, who wanted to be known only as Ms Tan, 50, said: "When I heard about it, I got a little unsure if I should still go. But I have booked the tickets and everything else, so I'm just going to go."

BatamFast, one of the ferry operators, was running its usual 14 trips to Batam.

"We haven't seen a decrease in passengers and we don't expect to as it is the peak period," said its general manager, Mr Chua Choon Leng.

The fliers and letters warned of bomb attacks in popular Bintan and Batam.

They also warned of attacks specifically targeted on Singaporean and Malaysian tourists.

SECURITY STEPPED UP

According to news reports, security in Batam has been stepped up.

Hotels also said they were increasing checks and being more thorough.

Harmoni One Convention Hotel & Service Apartments, for instance, has doubled the number of security guards at its entrance.

Harris Resort Waterfront Batam sales executive Bayu Tarigan told TNP: "We are keeping things as per normal, but our safety checks are now more thorough and detailed."

But one traveller decided against her trip to Batam.

Ms Audra Chow, 44, was looking forward to a spa trip with her friends on July 24, but they chose to cancel their plans.

"We decided against the trip as a precautionary measure," said the housewife.

Ms Chow's fear is not unfounded as Indonesia has seen two terrorist attacks this year.

Jakarta was rocked by bombings and gunfire, which killed seven, on Jan 14.

On Tuesday, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a police station in the city of Solo, Central Java.

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