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Anti-terror drill in Hong Kong MTR station draws 400 emergency staff

Authorities say exercise meant to enhance command and control ability of frontline response

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 8:29am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 11:43am

Some 400 Hong Kong police officers as well as staff from other government departments carried out an anti-terrorist exercise in one of the city’s busiest MTR stations early Friday morning.

Code-named “Leosharp 2018” and organised by police, the drill at Admiralty station also involved personnel from the MTR Corporation and Fire Services Department.

The force deployed officers from the Counter Terrorism Response Unit, Organised Crime and Triad Bureau, the Emergency Unit and the Police Tactical Unit.

In the practice scenario conducted at 2am, Admiralty station control room received an anonymous telephone call from a man who said “let’s play a game” before hanging up at about 9.30am on a weekday.

Staff for the station, which is a major railway transport hub for the city, alerted the operational command centre. Other Admiralty staff subsequently found an unattended briefcase at the concourse. Inside the briefcase, police found a note that read: “Let’s play a game.”

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Officers later stopped and searched a suspicious man in the concourse and found a knife on him. After questioning him, it was determined that he was acting with accomplices.

Soon after the man’s arrest, two gunmen began a shooting spree on site. The station conducted an evacuation and locked down the premises.

Officers from the Counter Terrorism Response Unit and Hong Kong Island Emergency Unit were deployed to locate the terrorists, who were eventually neutralised.

The casualties were attended to by the Fire Services Department.

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A police spokesman said the drill was meant to test and enhance command and control abilities while developing frontline officers’ knowledge and tactics in handling terrorist incidents.

It was also designed to boost coordination and communication between police, the fire service and MTR staff in the handling of emergencies.

Police reminded the public what to do in case of an attack: run, hide and report.

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This was the first such drill this year. The force staged more than a dozen of them last year.

Police said the city’s terrorist threat level remained “moderate.”