Tue, 26 Sep 2000

City Hall's bomb training, equipment gets put to use

JAKARTA (JP): The City Hall office complex received another bomb threat on Monday morning but discovered it was only a hoax thanks to its trained personnel and newly purchased metal detectors and bomb disposal containers.

Speaking to reporters, head of the city's Control Center for Social Disturbances Raya Siahaan explained that after receiving a mysterious call at 7:45 a.m., City Hall security officers managed to handle the situation on their own without having to call the police's bomb squad.

"Today, we have handled the threat with our own resources and equipment to prove that it was only another hoax," Raya said, referring to last week's situation in which the bomb squad was called out twice to examine the entire complex following threats from unidentified callers.

He gave no further details about the Monday's bomb threat.

According to Raya, a total of 148 security officers at the City Hall complex, which is also home to the Jakarta governor's office, had received four days of special training at the police Bomb Squad Headquarters since last Friday.

They were trained how to anticipate bomb threats, evacuate people and comb areas believed to have been planted with any explosive devices.

"Fifteen of them received special training on how to handle and disarm explosive devices," Raya said.

As planned, the city administration is believed to have spent hundreds of millions of rupiah from the city budget for the procurement of, among other things, two metal detectors, two explosive detectors, two bomb disposal containers and a suit of bulky body armor to be used by an officer assigned to collect and place suspected bombs into the container or dispose of them.

Raya refused to disclose the total spending, and the party or country the city administration purchased the goods from.

"The city administration plans to buy 10 more explosive and metal detectors, some of which will be given to each of the (city's five) mayoralty (offices)," he said.

The 21-story City Hall building has received several bomb threats since the powerful Sept. 13 bombing at the Jakarta Stock Exchange building, in which 11 people were killed and dozens others wounded.

Separately, Governor Sutiyoso underlined that the city administration had no other choice but to purchase the equipment due to the increasing numbers of threats to his office.

"It does not cost that much, and it is necessary for us to maintain security at the office so every employee can work well without being scared of bomb threats," Sutiyoso contended.

Like Raya, the governor also refused to reveal the price of the security devices.

But a security guard at a shopping center, which also uses heavy equipment for its security, said most of the devices were brought from the police.

A metal detector, for example, costs Rp 7 million (US$795), while others are sold at hundreds of millions of rupiah each. (dja)