17 October, 2016 Security
Mr. Koh wrote: “Mr Steve Tan, executive secretary for the security employees union, told The Straits Times that hotels and other building owners have stepped up security over the past few years. But in the last 12 months, these preparations have increased further as the terror threat has moved closer to home. For example, in the past, people may not have prepared for an improvised explosive device scenario, but now this is not out of the question.”
Hotels that The Straits Times said had increased security included, but were not limited to, the Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, the Sheraton Towers Singapore, and the Parkroyal. As coordinated as Singapore is regarding security, the number of hotels participating in the increased push for vigilance could easily number well over 100. According to government statistics, there are over 398 hotels in country.
There are three takeaways here. First, Singapore’s security forces do their homework, and they are well aware of the ISIS threat and threats posed by other, like-minded groups in the region. Singapore has arrested ISIS members on its soil, and it has closely followed violence carried out by ISIS and other organizations in Asia. Muir Analytics has reported on this violence here:
Singapore is concerned about all the different types of tactics used in these cases, and it is prepping to defend against them.
Second, in Singapore, the government’s security entities, neighborhood and business associations, and hotels all collaborate to provide hotel security. This frequently involves the police, Special Branch, intelligence agencies, Public Transport Security Command, the Police Coast Guard, and major business/real-estate organizations such as Frasers Commercial Trust and the Far East Organization. As a result, Singapore achieves not just a “whole of government” approach to security, but a “whole of country” approach to security.
Third, Singapore extends the protection of its hotel and tourism sector beyond its national borders. In August, for example, several members of ISIS in Indonesia were arrested plotting to attack the September Formula 1 races in Singapore. Singapore works closely and quietly with its neighbors where it can to detect and foil terror plots before they happen.
As ISIS and associated terrorist organizations increase their operations in Southeast Asia, hotel and tourist spots will increasingly be targeted. And while no security is ever 100% effective, Singapore is well ahead of its neighbors, and certainly scores of other countries in the West, regarding hotel security.
Sources and further reading:
“Hotels step up security against terror threat,” The Straits Times, 8 October 2016.
“Indonesia arrests six accused of plotting Singapore rocket attack,” Reuters, 5 August 2016.
“8 Bangladeshis detained under Internal Security Act,” Channel News Asia, 3 May 2016.
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