Mon, Dec 31, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Security tight for New Year’s Eve

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Police officers line up in front of the stage at Taipei City Hall yesterday as they prepare for tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Police are to implement high-level security measures and deploy counter terrorist commando units, to ensure public safety during tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations at the plaza in front of the Taipei City Government building, where tens of thousands of revelers are expected.

In total, 1,100 police officers would be deployed to protect the crowd, while a police sniffer dog squad would sweep the venue and surrounding areas before and during the event, Xinyi District Police Precinct chief Liu Hung-lieh (劉鴻烈) said at a media briefing.

Liu and other officials reminded the public that quadcopters and other types of aerial drones, as well as any kind of balloon, are prohibited at the event, and that the police would enforce the ban strictly and without exception.

An officer demonstrated the operation of a drone gun, aiming at a quadcopter in flight. The gun’s jamming device interfered with the drone’s radio signal, terminating its operation.

Due to past explosions caused by sparks from cigarettes, lighters and other fire sources, which resulted in burns and other injuries, people are prohibited from carrying these items into the event venue, as well as LED balloons that are filled with helium, hydrogen or other combustible gases, Liu said.

One sniffer dog unit would be on the lookout for explosive devices, while another unit would search for narcotics, Liu said, adding that knives and firearms are also prohibited, and that police would search people suspected of carrying dangerous items.

A Special Services Commando unit would have a 20-person team in combat gear with assault rifles on standby around the stage area throughout the event, to offer public protection and in case of a terrorist attack, the police said.

Police officials also warned people attending the party to remain alert and closely hold on to wallets and other valuable personal belongings, as there have been pickpocketing incidents at the event in previous years.

Due to the huge crowd expected, officials reminded people to listen to instructions given by event staff, and refrain from pushing and shoving when leaving.

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