Thu, Sep 23, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Mock attacks shut down Taipei

SIMULATION With Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou at the helm, military troops and police prevailed over mock terrorists and invisible, bridge-busting Chinese missiles

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two members of the military's ``night hawk'' counterterrorist team rappel down the side of the Taipei City Hall during the annual Wanan drill held across Taipei yesterday.


The Taipei City government and the military yesterday completed the Taipei leg of the annual Wanan drill, which integrated government and military resources in preparation for an air attack by China and terrorist threats.

The Wanan No. 27 exercise is being held in seven cities throughout September, but yesterday's drill in Taipei City was the most attractive for the media because it included simulated hostage-taking and a bioweapons attack on the city government.

The drill began at around 12:30pm with the terrorist-attack simulation. The city government and the military's Reserve Command then activated a "total defense negotiation center" to cope with the "emergency."

Six heavily armed terrorists hijacked government officials, asking for a ransom and threatening to kill one hostage every 30 minutes if the government did not meet their demands.

The Taipei police department deployed hundreds of police to cut off all access points into City Hall, while the head of the police task force requested that the military assist with the crisis before sending in negotiators to communicate with the "terrorists."

Units from the army, the air force and the military police joined the drill.

With snipers in position, two UH1H helicopters transported eight members of the military's "night hawk" counterterrorist team to the roof of City Hall.

Team members rappelled down the side of the building to enter through windows, while other members of special forces rushed the building to rescue the hostages and shoot dead five terrorists; the other terrorist was arrested. No hostages "died," though some of them were "injured."

The drill continued as another terrorist activated a bioweapon at the front door of the building, contaminating the area with unknown viruses.

The Army's chemical regiment arrived soon after, establishing a command center.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who served as drill commander, and Reserve Command Lieutenant-General Lin Kuo-tung (林國棟), who served as commander of the military units, expressed satisfaction with the drill.

"We think that natural disasters still pose the main threat to the city, but we must also prepare well for possible terrorist attacks," Ma said.

The second stage of the drill, an air raid and missile attack by China, started at 2pm, emptying the normally bustling arteries across the city.

The scenario saw Chinese missiles destroying Taipei's major bridges, threatening the city with a shortage of supplies. Military engineers were required to construct a pontoon bridge as soon as possible.

The 53rd Engineering Regiment rose to the challenge, building the bridge within 30 minutes.

The final component of the drill involved rescuing people trapped in the rubble of collapsed houses that had been "hit" by missiles.

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