Shanghai police 'crack' terrorists targeting Games

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 2008, 12:00am

Shanghai police have 'cracked' a group of terrorists after obtaining information that international terrorists were targeting the Games, a top police official said yesterday.

'We have staged raids and cracked a group of terrorists,' Shanghai Public Security deputy director Cheng Jiulong told state media. He said police had 'obtained information that international terrorist organisations would likely launch an attack against an Olympic venue in the city during the Games'.

Mr Chen would not say when the raids began, how many terrorists were detained or where they came from, Xinhua reported.

'According to information we have obtained, the Olympic venue, athlete's apartments and routes leading to the venue are at a safe level now,' he said. 'As we analyse the current situation, the threat of terrorist attacks is still present. International terrorist organisations have already issued threats to attack Shanghai.'

Mr Cheng's comments were the first time mainland police had explicitly said they had information that international terrorists were likely to target the Games. Earlier this month, Meng Hongwei , deputy minister of public security, said the top threat facing the Olympics was the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a Xinjiang separatist group. He also cited international terrorist groups and mainland criminals as security concerns.

Shangahi police also announced a range of security measures to ensure the safety of Olympic soccer matches in the city, including cash rewards for tips. Shanghai government spokesman Chen Qiwei said yesterday security measures for the 12 soccer matches as part of the Games next month would be extremely strict.

'The police have already taken steps for a portion of those people who create a threat,' he said.

Those considered a threat apparently include dissidents. Police detained lawyer Zheng Enchong , the city's best-known dissident, for six hours on Wednesday, marking the second time they had done so in four days.

As part of the Olympic security drive, police had announced cash rewards of 10,000 yuan (HK$11,437) to 500,000 yuan for tip-offs, including information about 'illegal organisations' and the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong, the public security bureau said.

Shanghai Stadium, the venue for the soccer matches, has been locked down since Sunday with 24-hour patrols. During the matches, the city will mobilise personnel and equipment to deal with potential bombings or even nuclear, chemical or biological threats.Shanghai has halted sales of explosives as well as toxic and radioactive materials until August 25, the day after the Olympics end.

Out in force

China is taking unprecedented measures to ensure a safe Olympics

The number of police patrolling olympic venues, hotels and streets is 100,000