Singapore - Armed police patrols at its train stations. A new unit to investigate bomb explosions. A customised vehicle that can deliver breathing gear to civilians during a chemical or gas attack. These are among the latest anti-terror measures introduced by the Singapore government in the light of the current security situation.
From August, the new MRT unit - comprising regular police officers and full-time police national servicemen - will complement the unarmed security guards and closed-circuit TV cameras that have gone up in all 51 train stations in the country.
The new bomb and explosive investigation division, which will be part of the Criminal Investigation Department, will probe all incidents involving explosive devices, such as tracing what happened, how it happened and who did it.
The customised vehicle, known as the Clipper bus, is aimed at keeping casualties down during a gas or chemical attack. The bus can be driven right to the area to distribute 3,000 battery-operated "escape hoods" which can filter out toxins or poisons for up to four hours. All police fast response cars have also been equipped with the new breathing gear.
While Singapore has been upgrading its anti-terrorist hardware, there is also a need for the police to review their traditional thinking about crimes, said Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng on April 14.
He said criminal networks involved in forging illegal passports, human trafficking and money-laundering need to be looked at differently, as they may have been exploited by terrorists.
* Armed police patrols at MRT stations (The Straits Times, April 15)