Sat, 16 Sep 2000

Hotel, building owners gear up for bombings

JAKARTA (JP): While no one can predict when and which buildings could be bomb targets, operators and management of buildings and hotels in the capital have taken preemptive and responsive measures in anticipation of such acts of terror.

General affairs and public relations officials at several hotels and buildings in Jakarta told The Jakarta Post in separate interviews on Thursday and Friday that duty officials, visitors and tenants had been informed of standard procedures they must follow if a bomb attack occurs.

"Our hotel staff have been given regular refresher training courses dealing with emergency situations every three months since mid-1998," Ria Leimena, spokeswoman for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta, said.

She was referring to the period since the downfall of former president Soeharto in May 1998.

Supri, an employee in the general affairs department at the Deutsche Bank building on Jl. Imam Bonjol in Central Jakarta, said the building management had instructed all employees to be wary of any possible incidents. "We have increased our internal security measures."

Ninok Zaenah, an employee in the administration section of Chase Manhattan Bank, which occupies Chase Plaza on Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta, echoed Supri, saying the building management had alerted employees to remain alert.

"If we receive a bomb threat we'll immediately call the police," she said.

Herny Sunarya, the public relation manager at Hotel Indonesia, and Memet Tirtaatmadja, the hotel's safety and security manager, said the hotel had alerted all employees to prepare for possible bomb threats and attacks.

"The hotel management has instructed all employees to remain wary of anything unattended or placed around the hotel," Herny said on Friday.

Memet said security staff had implemented patrols of all floors every one or two hours.

Herny said every employee was obliged to inform security if they found anything suspicious. "If an employee finds something suspicious, he or she has to inform the security post at once."

She also said the hotel was providing a 24-hour team of guards although the hotel had not yet received any bomb threats.

Sandra Djohan, the public relation manager of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, said the hotel's management had increased internal security.

"Since the bomb blast at the Philippine envoy's residence early last month, we have implemented very tight security around the hotel and Plaza Indonesia."

All the hotel staff have been instructed to pay extra attention to anything suspicious, including cars and even common things around the corners of the building, without making guests feel inconvenienced, she said.

"We also told our staff to improve their vigilance ... even though there has been no such threats to the hotel," she said.

She said the four recent bomb blasts in the capital had not affected the hotel's occupancy rate.

"The guests usually ask about the hotel's safety, and we always give them information and guidance during their stay at the hotel," she said.

A bomb exploded at the Attorney General's Office on July 4. There were no casualties in the incident.

A second explosion rocked the residence of Philippine Ambassador Leonides T. Caday on Aug. 1, killing two people and injuring 21 others, including the ambassador.

A public minibus parked on Jl. Taman Margasatwa in Ragunan, South Jakarta, was hit by an explosion at midnight on Aug. 30, the night before former president Soeharto's graft trial was set to open.

The fourth explosion rocked the Jakarta Stock Exchange building in South Jakarta on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens others.

Fathiah Syarif, the public relations manager at the Hilton Hotel, said the hotel had not taken any special measures following the bombings.

"Everything is just as usual," Fathiah said. "However, we always monitor information of any incidents outside the hotel."

"Our employees are also told to remain watchful of any security disturbances and of any unattended and abandoned items in the hotel."

Fathiah said the bombings had not impacted the hotel's occupancy rate. (01/imn)