In wake of bus blast, Beijing mobilises masses to fight terror attacks on public transport

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 5:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 July, 2014, 5:38pm

After a series of bus blasts across the country, the central government has vowed to mobilise both the public security force and the masses to fight against violent attacks on public transportation vehicles.

Crimes by terrorists or extremists that target buses or subway trains jeopardise public security, the Ministry of Public Security posted after an emergency meeting on Wednesday. It ordered local public security authorities to take whatever steps needed to control crime.

The ministry said security measures at public transport venues should be increased. Armed patrols will be added, and police officers, including those in plain clothes, will be assigned to each vehicle and station.

At some key stations, police officers will be deployed to implement security rather than security guards. Special Weapons and Tactics officers will be on patrol, and armed police will monitor each exit. Policemen on duty with dogs will also be sent to some key transport hubs.

Supervision of “key items and key group of people” will be beefed up, including a focus on “dangerous and explosive items”. Police are ensuring that people show their identity cards and register their names before buying those dangerous products.

The ministry has proposed that local authorities increase their investment in the scheme. A kind of “security staff” should be stationed on each subway train and each bus, along with the equipment to put out fire.

Local governments are being required to mobilise the public to participate by encouraging them to report anyone who they believe looks suspicious. A rewards scheme is in place in several provinces, regions and municipalities for people who provide important tip-offs that result in arrests or subdue crimes at bus and subway stops.

A 25-year-old Hunan native was detained on Tuesday evening for starting a fire on a bus in a busy street in Guangzhou. Two passengers were killed by the flames and 32 were injured.

More than a week ago, another arson case happened on a bus in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, leaving at least 32 people injured.

In June of last year, a middle-aged man killed himself and 46 other passengers on a crowded bus in Xiamen, Fujian, by setting it alight.

All three arsonists told police or wrote suicide notes that they were frustrated with their lives and wanted to take revenge against society.