Date
16 October 2018
Police conduct a counter-terrorism exercise at the West Kowloon Station, which will start serving the Express Rail Link in September. Photo: HK Govt
Police conduct a counter-terrorism exercise at the West Kowloon Station, which will start serving the Express Rail Link in September. Photo: HK Govt

Mock terror drill held at rail station amid XRL preparation

A large-scale counter-terrorism drill was conducted at the West Kowloon terminus on Saturday as part of security preparations for the infrastructure facility that will serve cross-border express trains.

Around 600 members from the police, fire and ambulance services, as well as some people from the civil aid service, joined the mock exercise — which was codenamed “Flyrocket” — in relation to the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) which will open later this year.

In the cross-departmental drill, a scenario was played out where a group of “terrorists” armed with knives and firearms ram a truck into a crowd and take hostages at the B1 level of the station, where the ticketing counters are located.

Responding to the emergency, authorities are seen deploying negotiation robots and bomb-defusing robots, which are controlled by police negotiators and bomb disposal experts, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Taking various actions, officers eventually subdue the terrorists and defuse the threat.

The drill was aimed to “heighten the counter-terrorism capabilities, interoperability of departments and agencies, public’s counter-terrorism awareness, and to enhance counter-terrorism contingency plans,” the government said in a statement.

Globally, railways have been a popular target of terrorism activities, John Tse, chief superintendent of the Police Public Relations Branch, pointed out.

“However, I must stress that there is currently no specific intelligence indicating that Hong Kong will (be) under attack, and the overall terrorist threat level of Hong Kong remains moderate,” he stressed.

Tse said agencies in Hong Kong and China would be in close contact and inform each other if any untoward incidents happen in the high-speed rail facilities once the service begins.

In cases where criminals get into the Chinese port area, mainland authorities can seek request information, or seek other help, from Hong Kong law enforcement, he added.

KN/RC

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