SINGAPORE: Screams and gunshots filled the air in the early hours of the morning, as the Singapore Police Force (SPF) showcased its counter-terrorism capabilities in a security exercise at the Padang in the lead up to National Day.
More than 200 officers from the Clementi Police Division, Public Transport Security Command (TransCom), Special Operations Command, Gurkha Contingent and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) took part in the exercise on Friday (Aug 2).
Three scenarios with knife-wielding attackers and multiple gunmen were carried out during the security exercise to “test the response to terrorist attacks”, said SPF in a press release.
SLASHERS, GUNMEN, HOSTAGES
The first scenario involved TransCom officers taking down attackers armed with knives at a crowded MRT station.
At 2.30am, a "fight" erupts at City Hall MRT station between a commuter and a man wielding a knife.
Two TransCom officers take down the man when he charges towards them, but a second attacker grabs another commuter as a hostage – before he is quickly taken down by another pair of TransCom officers.
The second and third scenarios are set in the Padang, a simulated terrorist attack at the National Day Parade (NDP).
Spectators dressed in red and white are waving small Singapore flags from the stands when the crack of gunfire rings out. Three gunmen shoot several civilians before SPF's first responders – the Ground Response Force and Emergency Response Team – appear almost immediately in full gear.
In single file, the officers storm the stands and take down all three gunmen in a matter of minutes.
The scene then moves to the spectator stands across the road from the Padang.
This time, there are four gunmen who emerge in the stands. Several spectators are shot, while others scream and duck out of the way.
Twenty officers from the Rapid Deployment Troops, Armed Strike Team and Gurkha Contingent arrive on four Tactical Response Motorcycles and two Armoured Personnel Vehicles and enter the stands from the lower level, shooting two of the gunmen.
From the top level, more officers from the Special Tactics and Rescue unit corner the last two gunmen.
Once all the gunmen have been neutralised, the officers secure the stands and wait for SCDF to arrive and tend to the casualties.
The three simulated attacks were carried out under the watchful eye of Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.
“NDP is classified as a high-security event each year. It’s one of the events for which very substantial forces are deployed by the police,” he said.
"It’s a very important event, it’s an iconic event for Singapore. And the forces take it – the police force takes it extremely seriously.”
On Thursday, the police declared this year’s NDP to be an “enhanced security special event” under the Public Order Act, marking off the area around the Padang as a special event area with enhanced security measures.
Within the special event area, there will also be a special zone with stricter security checks. These enhanced security measures are expected to take effect from midnight to 11.59pm on Aug 9.