IF you’re street-smart, you’ll avoid the vicinity of Suntec City this week as it will be, to the layman, an uncomfortable lock-down zone in one of the tightest air, land and sea protection covers.
The security blueprints are out and top government and police officials have backed tough security measures which will transform the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre into a heavy-duty fortress ahead of this weekend’s Asean Summit.
The 33rd Asean Summit and related summits will be held from Nov 11 to Nov 15, and attended by leaders from 10 South-east Asian countries and their counterparts from China, the US, Japan and Russia.
As discreetly as it is done, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will be deploying over 40 assets from several task forces to secure Singapore’s airspace and surrounding waters during the summit.
“We also work closely with our home-front agency partners like the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force in order to protect the Asean Summit location,” says Colonel Lim Kok Hong, head of the SAF Current Operations Group.
TIGHTEST SECURITY NETWORK
Close to 1,600 military personnel will work in tandem with other uniformed agency partners in an ultra-tight security network, close to what was deployed for June’s historic meeting between the American and North Korea leaders.
But the circumstances are different, says Col Lim. He explains: “Every summit location will provide different challenges. The previous one (Trump-Kim Summit) was a lot closer to the sea, hence our security posture was different.
“This one is closer inland, there are a lot more heads of state, a lot more hotels, so the challenges are different, but we overcome them with planning,”
For the Asean Summit, the Maritime Security Task Force will have two vessels – a littoral mission vessel and a patrol vessel – patrolling the anchorage around Marina Barrage, where an average of 200 merchant ships like tankers and container vessels sit daily.
The Air Defence Task Force will also adopt a heightened security stance. On high alert, there will be additional precautions such as F-15SG and F-16 fighter jets in the sky to conduct combat air patrol.
On land, the Island Defence Task Force and Special Operations Task Force will support the police in security operations, with Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives (CBRE) teams and the Medical Response Force involved as well.
EXPECT TRAFFIC DELAYS
If you’re driving or riding, you can expect traffic delays due to road closures and stringent security checks to ensure the security of the Asean Summit.
A police spokesman said an area bounded by Bencoolen Street, Beach Road, Nicoll Highway, Fullerton Road and Victoria Street, among others, has already been declared as an Enhanced Security Special Event Area from Tuesday to Thursday.
During this period, the public is also prohibited from flying drones or carrying out other aerial activities, such as kite-flying and hoisting of captive balloons, in the area unless authorised by the CAAS.
People entering the special event area during this period can be arrested if found with prohibited items, such as flammable materials, explosives and loud hailers. They can subsequently be fined a maximum of $20,000 or jailed up to 12 months, or both.
Perhaps the most prudent advice: The authorities are urging the public to cooperate and comply with all orders issued by officers on the ground.
“Anyone who engages in activities that can compromise security within the Enhanced Security Special Event Area and the Special Zone will be dealt with firmly, in accordance with the law,” says the police spokesman.