Thursday, October 24

Preparing for worst-case scenario


42 agencies take part in exercise at KIA to gauge readiness of police in handling emergencies

Two aviation security personnel on the ground after being shot by terrorists during the exercise. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING: Over 800 personnel from 42 agencies participated in a full-scale ‘Act of Aggression’ exercise carried out as per the Airport Emergency Plan (AEP) at the carpark of Kuching International Airport (KIA) here yesterday.

The exercise, organised by Malaysia Airports in collaboration with the National Security Council (MKN) and Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), was the first of its kind to take place at KIA to ensure the airport’s readiness in the event of terrorism attacks, riots or explosions.

It was a follow through from previous act of aggression exercises that were held at Kota Kinabalu International Airport in 2016 as well as Sandakan Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 2017.

Among the agencies involved were MKN, PDRM, Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia (CAAM), Information Department, Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) – in particular its Hazardous Material (Hazmat) and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNe) units – Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Civil Defence Force (APM) and the Health Ministry.

LSF personnel in action during the exercise. – Photo by Chimon Upon

The 18-hour exercise, which began at 8am, focused on the measures and actions taken to counter possible riots, explosion and terrorist acts that may occur at the airport.

This full-scale exercise was conducted as per the AEP, a documentation that encompasses contingency plans to achieve the coordinated actions through the defined guidelines of the general functions and responsibilities of the operational units at the airport, government agencies and airlines in the event of an airport emergency.

The purpose of the AEP is in accordance with the provisions stated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The exercise involved the reenactment of possible riots, explosions and CBRNe as well as hostage-taking and terrorist attack.

Kuching Police Chief ACP Ng Ah Lek in a press conference yesterday said the first frame of the full-scale exercise involved 30 ‘disgruntled employees’ who staged an illegal assembly, leading to a riotous situation.

“We sent out our LSF (Light Strike Force) to initially tackle the situation. As the situation aggravated, we had to dispatch Poru (Public Order and Riot Unit) from the PGA (General Operations Force).

“The crowd dispersed at around 11am and arrests were made as the assembly was staged without acquiring a permit from the police,” he said in describing the scenario of the exercise, in the presence of KIA airport manager Jun Iskandar Morshidi.

Bomba personnel evacuate a ‘victim’ to the designated zone. – Photo by Chimon Upon

According to Ng, the second frame involved eight victims in a reenactment of an incident with poisonous chemical.

He said the authorities managed to ‘rescue’ the first victim from the site at 1.15pm and the entire rescue operation ended at 1.56pm.

He also disclosed that one Poru personnel sustained slight injury during the exercise when he fell during the first frame of the exercise.

According to the plot provided by Malaysia Airports, the third and last frame was a hostage-taking situation that involved 10 terrorists, 30 hostages, two passengers, two aviation security personnel and several casualties.

The storyline would see the armed terrorists shooting two passengers and two aviation security personnel before intruding on the departure hall and holding 30 individuals hostage while demanding, among other things, a ransom of US$250 million.

The ‘hostage situation’ will reach stand-down status at 2am today (Dec 7).

The staged hostage-taking situation at KIA saw armed terrorists demanding a ransom. – Photo by Roystein Emmor