Sunday, December 12, 2010

Securing the Guangzhou showcase

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou, China | Sun, 11/21/2010 2:41 PM | Sports

An Indonesian journalist unintentionally left his ID card at the main press room and went to the toilet outside.

He was stopped by a security guard when he was about to exit the toilet, and was escorted to the news room to retrieve his ID card.

That was only one little story about how tight the security arrangement has been during the 16th Guangzhou Asian Games.

The local police chief revealed Thursday that the Asian Games security arrangement comprised a four level security line: community security, neighboring area security, torch relay security and venue security.

The police estimated that over 800,000 people have taken part in community security.

“We believe a peaceful and harmonious society is essential to the safety of all sports teams, technical officials, team officials and spectators,” He Guangping, deputy director general of the Guangdong provincial public security department, said at a press conference Thursday.

Since last April the police had launched a campaign for game security called “Social Security for a Safe Asian Games” in which they applied advanced information technology in inter-district and multi-force crack downs against crime.

Three security circles had been mapped out with the sports venues at the center, a circle around Guangdong province, and a circle around host city Guangzhou and co-host cities Foshan, Dongguan and Shanwei.

Since Oct. 10, the police also tightened supervision of road traffic, water traffic, air traffic and rail links by setting up 56 check points along the provincial circle, 76 check points along the city circle, 26 points along waterways and 24 points along rail links. A total of over 3,600 policemen and 7,400 security staff are deployed at these check points.

As of last Tuesday, highway checkpoints had pulled over 2,734,000 vehicles, interviewed more than five million passengers and nabbed “1,740 criminal suspects and 207 wanted criminals.” Police also confiscated 1,979,000 fireworks and 65,000 kilograms of dangerous chemicals.

Security teams have also been deployed at each venue and every residential area.

Physical isolation and technical protection facilities have been installed at all venue and competition areas. “We have a well-equipped nuclear biochemical detection team, professional teams responsible for technical protection, venue security checks, human and vehicle checks, water security checks, an explosives removal team and a special group with explosive detective dogs,” said Guangping.

In the wake of a high-rise inferno that killed 53 people in Shanghai last week, more than 600 fire inspectors have been deployed at the venues, the Asian Games Village and hotels to identify loopholes and remove any possible fire threats to security.

Guangping claimed that the security plan was based on practices adopted by the Beijing Olympics and the 60 anniversary celebrations of the founding of the People Republic of China, both of which were in line with the relevant rules of the Asian Games and the Olympics.

“We believe we can deliver not only a safe Asian Games, but a friendly one. The safety of events
in all venues will remain our priority, and we will deploy the police force to the most needed areas to work jointly with the communities,” he said.

For the Nov. 12 opening ceremony alone up to 100,000 security personnel were on full alert in Guangzhou, Foshan, Dongguan and Shanwei. “Among them, 40,000 personnel were deployed around the Haixinsha Island, the site of the opening. Despite the unprecedented challenges, there have so far been no major security incidents at these games, thanks to arduous preparation,” He Guangping said.

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