They came, they met, and they signed on the dotted line for world peace. But what went into keeping US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un safe during their rendezvous in Singapore? Here’s some action that our Home Team officers were privy to.
TEXT: KOH HUI THENG
1. Breaking down the language barrier
Several SPF officers served as translators for the summit. They had to ace the 10-minute language proficiency test that included translating lines like “You have been arrested in accordance with Singapore law.”
2. Working overtime
Since the June summit coincided with the school holidays and Ramadan month, some officers had to cancel their leave. Provisions were also made for those who were fasting to be put on specific shifts.
3. It took three weeks of planning
That’s how little time officers from Clementi Police Division had to turn popular Sentosa hotel Capella Singapore into a tightly secured venue hosting two of the world’s most protected leaders.
4. Our shores were not overlooked
The SPF team pulled off the first high-security event in Sentosa with aplomb. How? By gazetting not just the hotel but also the waters off the southwest beaches near the holiday resort under the “special event area” boundaries. Part of the ramped-up security efforts included planning for potential maritime incursions. According to Assistant Commissioner Jarrod Pereira, commander of Clementi Police Division: “The vulnerability from sea was quite new, so we had to plan all sorts of angles.”
5. Smile, you’re on police camera
Thanks to Sentosa’s lush flora, officers were able to surround the 12ha of greenery around Capella Singapore with security and thermal cameras. So, trespassers, beware!
6. You can never be too prepared
Capella Singapore’s secluded location was a boon, letting officers focus on securing the only way in and out of Sentosa via land. With so much to consider both on land and at sea, no wonder some colleagues spent up to 18 hours a day doing recces and preparation.
7. Riding with Mr President
Being part of President Trump’s motorcade meant travelling in the main convoy of about 40 vehicles. Three additional convoys would have already passed in front, clearing the roads of traffic. Total vehicle count for each delegation: about 60.
8. Two hours for a 20-minute journey
Thanks to the cleared roads, travelling from point A to point B with Mr Trump and Mr Kim took no more than 20 minutes. But preparations took at least two hours. Motorcade commanders had to factor in the length of the leaders’ limousines to make sure the pace they went at facilitated the long convoy movements, said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Evon Ng, who is Deputy Commander of the police’s Public Transport Security Command.
9. Uncovering The Beast
The VIPs’ armoured cars had bulletproof glass, fortified frames to withstand explosives equivalent to 15kg of TNT, and fresh-air systems. President Trump’s $2 million ride, nicknamed The Beast, also carries containers with blood of his blood type.
10. Come eat noodles
How do you know when you’ve done a good job? When you score an invite from the North Koreans to eat naengmyeon in Pyongyang. South Korea-born Home Team NSman and Singapore Permanent Resident Gim Joo Hyung, who worked as one of SPF’s translators during the summit, received multiple invites to North Korea to have the cold buckwheat noodle dish that the capital is famous for.