Hong Kong holds inter-departmental counter-terrorisdark green wristbandsm exercise

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Hong Kong holds its first large-scale inter-departmental counter-terrorism exercise on March 25, 2019. [Photo/IC]

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong held its first large-scale inter-departmental counter-terrorism exercise on Monday at a park on the Hong Kong Island.

The exercise, codenamed "Powersky", was organized by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government"s Inter-departmental Counter Terrorism Unit (ICTU) and participated by about 270 members from six disciplined services, namely the Hong Kong Police Force, the Immigration Department, the Customs and Excise Department, the Correctional Services Department, the Fire Services Department and the Government Flying Service.

During different scenarios included in the exercise, members of Hong Kong Police Special Duties Unit could be seen landing on a roof by fast-roping from a helicopter and raiding "terrorists" hiding in the house. After a "terrorist" released toxic chemical gas, explosive disposal vehicle rushed to the scene to deal with chemical leakage while decontamination showering system was set up for the affected persons.

The exercise, simulating an operation against a terrorist cell plotting an attack in Hong Kong with homemade explosives, aimed to enhance the coordination among various departments on counter-terrorism intelligence and response, and to heighten counter-terrorism awareness of the public, Senior Superintendent of Police Winna Leung of ICTU told media at a briefing before the exercise.

ICTU was established in April, 2018 by the HKSAR government"s Security Bureau to provide an inter-departmental counter-terrorism platform on top of the existing counter-terrorism framework to enhance Hong Kong"s overall counter-terrorism deployment.

In Hong Kong, the threat of terrorist attacks is currently assessed to be "moderate" on a three-level scale, meaning that there is a possibility of attack though there is no specific intelligence suggesting that Hong Kong is a likely target, according to the HKSAR government"s Under Secretary for Security Sonny Au.

Au said at the briefing that considering the complex and ever-changing global anti-terrorism situation, Hong Kong, as a metropolis, must be well-prepared against terrorist attacks.

"ICTU aims at enhancing the coordination among departments, and achieving synergy in various aspects such as counter-terrorism intelligence, emergency response and training," he said.