Beijing steps up subway security - with focus on rubbish bins

Concerns about concealment of bombs and possible attacks prompts new layers of protection

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 July, 2014, 8:48pm

Beijing has stepped up efforts to ensure security at its subway system and launched an anti-terror security check yesterday, the largest scale of its kind so far.

All 17 lines and 276 subway stations are part of the inspection with particular attention being paid to trash bins.

Earlier last month, a cleaner in Guangzhou was injured after a rubbish bin exploded near a bus stop. The explosion was caused by a box of firecrackers left in the bin, according to police.

“Nowadays, all trash bins can only been placed at set places under surveillance camera,” a staff member working at the Wangfujing station told The Beijing News. “Sanitary staff also need to clean them every 15 minutes.”

Trash cans in all eight stations on the Chang’an Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Beijing, are listed as the key targets for monitoring and check.

Police at the Beijing Public Safety Bureau have stepped up efforts on training subway staff on anti-terrorism-related techniques.

“Almost every day after the last train, we organise training sessions, lasting from 30 minutes to an hour,” said Chen Jihong , a director in charge of security check at subway stations.

So far, nine stations conduct enhanced security screenings, which includes both body checks and luggage screening. The new measures will apply to 56 stations, according to Chen.

The frisking policy has frustrated many commuters, especially during rush hours.

Some stations have also installed detectors to check for alcohol and explosives. Dogs that sniff out explosives and possible gas leaks have joined the patrolling team.

Street performers and beggars have also been reportedly cleared from stations.