Singapore

First anti-terror drill conducted in Clarke Quay

Exercise tests response of police, workers in area

Two gunmen "opened fire" in a Clarke Quay nightclub yesterday afternoon, but they were swiftly brought down by police officers.

Thankfully, it was not for real - the exercise was a counter-terrorism simulation organised by the Singapore Police Force and Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

In an earlier segment, the police took down a knife-wielding attacker who had run through a covered walkway, stabbing bystanders.

In a statement released yesterday, the organisers said Exercise Heartbeat was carried out to test the response of the police, businesses and workers in the area.

Now in its ninth year, the annual exercise was conducted in Clarke Quay, a popular nightclub area that draws about a million visitors each month, for the first time.

About 140 people took part in the exercise.

This year's scenario was modelled after the attack on Borough Market in London that left seven people dead and 48 injured in June.

Last year, in September, one of the venues for the exercise was Esplanade - Theatres by the Bay, almost a year after a terrorist attack during a sold-out rock concert in Paris killed 89 people.

BUILD UP

For this year's exercise, MOM worked with CapitaLand Mall Asia, which manages the Clarke Quay area, to build up businesses' reactions towards terrorism as part of its SGSecure at Workplaces programme.

It has been encouraging employees to download the SGSecure app, training them on evacuation routes and keeping a list of the businesses' safety representatives.

Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs Josephine Teo said the response of building management and tenants will make a critical difference when a terrorist attack occurs at the workplace.

"If they know how to respond swiftly, they can save lives, minimise disruption, and we are more likely to recover quickly," she said.

Companies can find out more about SGSecure through www.sgsecure.sg and www.mom.gov.sg/sgsecure

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