Singapore: Simulated terror attack held at Sentosa's KidZania

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Superintendent Ho Yenn Dar (L), assistant director of media relations of Singapore Police Force listens to questions from journalists on the international match-fixing scam at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Singapore February 6, 2013. Reuters (Representational Image)

Three black-masked gunmen stormed the lobby of KidZania, one of Sentosa's attractions and opened fire on more than 10 people before they were handcuffed by an emergency response team on Friday morning in Singapore.

This was part of a terrorism-response exercise, code-named Exercise Heartbeat, and aimed at helping Singaporeans prevent and prepare against terror attacks. Soon after the shootout, a group of officers from Singapore Police Force's (SPF) Ground Response Team and Emergency Response Team arrived at the scene and took things under control.

These exercises, which is a part of the national movement SGSecure, are meant to test the coordination between Home Team agencies, community, and business stakeholders.

"With around 19 million visitors annually and being home to more than 6,000 residents, it is of utmost importance that we stand ready to respond effectively to any emergencies so that everyone in Sentosa has peace of mind." Quek Swee Kuan, CEO of Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) told Channel NewsAsia. SDC is responsible for the development and management of the island.

The statutory board has combined efforts to conduct annual terror exercises and drills on Sentosa since 2010. They also conduct regular workshops on how to deal with terror threats through the SGSecure movement.

At present, over 70 percent of tenants on Sentosa have registered their SGSecure representatives with the Manpower Ministry (MOM).

The Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) has also explained the importance of developing effective contingency plans to secure the workplace under MOM's enhanced bizSAFE workplace health and safety programmes to all the tenants.

KidZania Singapore is one of the businesses that are involved in these programmes. The family attraction spot started developing their business continuity plan in case of a terror attack from November last year. All frontline staff at KidZania are also trained in first aid.

"While we have detailed contingency plans in place, this joint exercise allows us to put our emergency-preparedness measures to the test and work with various agencies to fine-tune them, so as to always ensure we maintain a safe learn-through-play environment at all times," Leong Yue Weng, general manager of KidZania Singapore said.

Over 200 people, including staff from KidZania, officers from the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force, were involved in this latest edition of Exercise Heartbeat.

This article was first published on January 26, 2018