23 December 2016
Following recent terror arrests in the region and the deadly truck rampage at a Christmas market in Berlin earlier this week, several churches in Singapore are stepping up protective measures for festive events in the next few days — such as conducting bag checks on churchgoers and visitors, hiring external security firms, and setting up dedicated committees to oversee security arrangements.
St Andrew’s Cathedral, for instance, will be doubling the number of security officers during its eight services held this weekend to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Since the start of the month, the cathedral — Singapore’s largest — has also tightened its security protocols by making bag checks compulsory and putting up notices around the church to inform its congregation of the measures in place in light of the current security situation, said the church’s manager Kenneth Koh.
… S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) Associate Professor Alan Chong reiterated that Singapore’s vulnerability to terrorist threats is heightened as the festive season comes around. Terror attacks tend to be on the rise over the Christmas period due to its religious significance and because “targets are plentiful”, said Assoc Prof Chong, who specialises in security and international relations.
“Terrorists in the region can duplicate what has been done in other countries… Singapore is susceptible because of the volume of (visitor) traffic it receives during the holiday season. We definitely have to watch our levels of security in places of worship,” he said. “It is something that people who attend places of worship may not be so vigilant of.”
RSIS research analyst Nur Diyanah Anwar noted that countries where Christmas is celebrated widely, including Singapore, must pay greater attention to security against the looming terror threat. “Security will definitely be enhanced in places of worship and major tourist spots over the Christmas weekend and into the new year. Singapore will be no exception,” she said.
CENS / RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 23/12/2016