Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Are security personnel trained to handle bomb threats?

It was reported in The Star on Sunday, 17 January 2016 that popular tourist spots like Bangsar, Publika and Bukit Bintang were under threat of terrorist attacks.

Following this report I noticed there were more police patrol cars and officers patrolling these locations. Sometimes there were also military personnel with rifles.

All these terrorist threats and bomb threats got me thinking about the time when I had an almost real bomb scare in Low Yat Plaza and whether security personnel at public places are trained to handle such situations.

The incident happened in October last year when I went to Low Yat Plaza to collect LvH's disc that he had sent for repairs at one of the shops there.

While waiting for the lift to take me to the 4th Floor (where the shop was located), I noticed a light green suitcase beside the dustbin at the lift. I thought the owner must be nearby but there was no one around. Moreover the lift was in a quiet spot located towards the back of Low Yat Plaza (near the entrance facing Berjaya Times Square).

I took a closer look at the suitcase and saw Arabic words written on it. My heart started beating like mad and my mind was about to explode like the suspected bomb filled suitcase! I was ready to flee, but I told myself not to panic and that I must act rationally.

I immediately went to look for a security personnel and the shop keepers pointed me to the direction of the security office which was (thankfully) a few long strides from the lift.

I barged into the office and informed the personnel on duty that there was a suitcase left unattended at the lift. The guy immediately asked me to bring him to the location.

When we got to the lift, the security personnel approached the suitcase to take a closer look while I stood at a distance. The moment he saw the Arabic words he jumped as if though someone had thrown a snake at him.

He left the suitcase and walked further away looking lost and fiddling with his mobile phone thinking of who to call. Who was he trying to call? The bomb squad? His mother?

Looking at this hopeless idiot, I was already thinking of running as far away as possible. Hasn't Low Yat Plaza an SOP on how to handle a bomb threat?

As the idiot was behaving like a totally untrained security personnel, another security guy (with more balls) went up to the suitcase and slowly picked it up, saying that it felt light and not heavy at all.

I began to feel relieved when he said that because from what I've read, bombs are usually heavy.

Then the guy with balls started opening the suitcase only to find that it was empty after all. Some irresponsible idiot must have wanted to dispose their suitcase, and where do they leave it? At a lift in a busy mall. And they even wrote Arabic words on it!

I looked at the untrained security personnel and shoke my head, saying that these situations are extremely tensed and dangerous. I'm sure he must have felt relieved too (who wouldn't) but I just hope he'll know what to do if another similar situation happens again.

And to all Arab speaking people in Bukit Bintang, I know you guys love Bukit Bintang to the extend of transforming some of the shops there to look exactly like shops back in the Middle East. But please be considerate and DO NOT leave your fucking suitcases lying around, especially when there are Arabic words written on it.

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