2,000 arrested during Asian Games
Mimi Lau in Guangzhou
Guangdong police say they have arrested more than 2,000 people as a result of Asian Games security measures designed to ensure a trouble-free event.
He Guangping, deputy chief of the Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department, said yesterday that 1,740 criminal suspects and 207 wanted criminals had been arrested and nearly two million fireworks and 6.5kg of dangerous chemicals seized. The authorities have also arrested 196 people trying to sell marked-up Asian Games tickets.
He said that nearly 200 security checkpoints had been established and that by Tuesday more than 438,000 police had checked more than 2.8 million cars and nearly 5.4 million passengers.
He said the authorities had done their utmost to crack down on security risks as well as fire safety loopholes by thorough inspection.
'From the top of the public security department down to the heads of district police branches, we are checking to identify hidden risks every single day,' he said.
'It is as if we're walking on thin ice because we are doing everything we can to detect security loopholes.'
Police say that more than 800,000 people are contributing to community security during the Games.
Another 117,000 police, security workers and volunteers were deployed to ensure a smooth torch relay before the Games.
A traffic management team has designated 105 lanes with a total length of 800 kilometres for Games vehicles only.
Half the city's normal traffic has also been taken off the roads, using an alternating system based on odd and even number plates.
In a bid to silence dissidents and maintain social stability during the Games, a number of activists were escorted out of Guangzhou or placed under close watch before the Games' opening ceremony on Friday. They include activist lawyer Tang Jingling and writer Ye Du.
On the night of the opening ceremony, Guangdong police deployed more than 100,000 officers, with nearly 40,000 guarding the ceremonial stage on Haixinsha Island and neighbouring areas, with scores of marine police boats patrolling waterways.
Taxi driver Lin Depei said he felt safer doing his job with more security checkpoints.
'These checkpoints serve as deterrents, scaring away cab-driver-robbing criminals,' Lin said.
'There is inconvenience caused, for sure, but we understand that it's unavoidable.'
Liu Lican , 34, who works for an NGO, said he was annoyed by the number of checkpoints at the airport and metro stations.
'I was running late for a flight a few days ago and all the lining up was really frustrating,' Liu said.
'There are way too many motionless armed police standing in metro stations, but they aren't actually doing anything, which seems quite meaningless to me.
'I would feel safer if there were actual policemen patrolling the streets where we live, but they are not commonly seen during the Asian Games period.
'Instead, they are replaced by red-capped volunteers.'
Safety in numbers
Police say the number of people contributing to community security during the Games is more than: 800,000