COUNTERTERRORISM

SWAT teams train Beijing bus drivers on dealing with arsonists

More than 300 drivers receive the instruction, and knife-proof vests and pepper spray are handed out to hospitals in the capital

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 5:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 2014, 9:18am

Bus drivers in Beijing have been trained by SWAT officers on how to deal with arsonists, and knife-proof vests and pepper spray were distributed to 21 hospitals in the latest move to step up anti-terrorism in the capital.

Special weapons and tactics officers trained more than 300 bus drivers, telling them how to fight against arsonist suspects in an emergency.

Drivers were taught to yell out to distract arson suspects and “quickly and accurately” seize the hands of suspects holding lighters and push them away, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Officers also trained drivers how to snatch knives from arson suspects using their steering wheels.

Buses have been under repeated arson assaults on the mainland this year. In July alone, three buses have been set alight, leaving two people dead and more than 60 injured, according to state media.

Also, the Beijing municipal government has distributed more than 2.6 million yuan (HK$3.3 million) worth of anti-terror equipment to 21 hospitals on Wednesday, The Beijing News reported.

Among the items were helmets, knife-proof vests, rubber truncheons, explosion-proof blankets and pepper spray. All the equipment will be used by security personnel in hospitals.

Violent attacks have been posing serious threats to hospitals, an official from Beijing Hospital authorities told the News.

There have been no terror attacks in hospitals, but recent years have seen more assaults on medical professionals. Disgruntled patients have been waving knives at doctors and nurses.

More than 60 per cent of medical professionals on the mainland have suffered physical violence or injuries, according to the Chinese Hospital Association.

Beijing security authorities started the city’s seventh anti-terror drill this year on Thursday morning. More than 500 anti-terror force officers and 30 vehicles were involved. It comes after last week’s arson attack on a Guangzhou bus.

Hospital authorities and Beijing SWAT team members also had an anti-terror drill on Wednesday afternoon to show hospital security staff how to use the equipment.

The anti-terror training for the bus drivers has been converted into a teaching video, which will be circulated nationwide, Beijing Youth Daily said.