Hi-tech security web for spider-proof tower

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 January, 2002, 12:00am

New infrared surveillance cameras deployed at the foot of China's tallest skyscraper peer into the darkness, ever vigilant against infiltrators.

Concealed alarms warn the guardians of the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai of intruders, and spikes prevent anyone from climbing the structure.

These state-of-the-art sentinels have been positioned around the tower to prevent not terrorists, but would-be Spidermen, from getting too close.

Climbers of man-made mountains, would-be Romeos, and those seeking 15 minutes of fame have all been drawn to the tower - located in the Pudong district of Shanghai. But so far only one has reached the 'peak'.

'Three people attempted to climb the Jin Mao Tower last year and one made it to the top' of the 88-storey building, said Gao Tianjie, vice-president of the China Jin Mao Group Co Ltd.

Han Qizhi, from Anhui province, reached the top of the skyscraper early last year.

'After that, Han became famous, and was hailed as China's first Spiderman,' said Mr Gao. Public reaction led others to attempt to emulate Mr Han's achievement. Despite increased patrols around the tower, a Shanghai resident breached security and tried to scale the Jin Mao after a quarrel with his girlfriend, said Mr Gao.

He wanted to climb the building to show his girlfriend he was not afraid of dying, he said.

'His ultimate goal was to commit suicide.'

'The man, identified only as an employee of the nearby Shanghai International Convention Centre, was pulled to safety by guards,' Mr Gao said.

The third urban mountaineer, a native of Zhejiang province, 'became terrified after he passed the 20th floor, and started screaming for help', Mr Gao said. Building staff lowered a window-cleaner's gondola and helped him to safety.

Instead of fame and fortune, the second and third climbers were detained as a deterrent against future escapades.

'These climbers were detained by the police for 15 days each, and a similar fate awaits anyone else who attempts to climb the Jin Mao Tower,' said Mr Gao.

He stressed that the building's hi-tech security measures were aimed only at thrill-seekers and not at terrorists.

Any attempted action by armed extremists 'would constitute a threat to state security, and the national security organisations have the duty to protect the building against that type of threat', he said.

Fang Dinghua, an official at the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, agreed. 'Protection against terrorisism in Shanghai is the responsibility of the Public Security Bureau, civil aviation authorities and other state security organisations,' she said.