Police elite squad cripples terrorists in Subang Airport during ‘security drill’

Members of the Royal Malaysian Police’s special forces are pictured during a drill at the Subang Airport July 25, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Members of the Royal Malaysian Police’s special forces are pictured during a drill at the Subang Airport July 25, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PETALING JAYA, July 25 — The actions of Bukit Aman’s Special Actions Unit (UTK) rescue drill of five hostages taken by five male terrorists at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang this morning injected some excitement in the normally quiet and placid domestic terminal.

In a scene reminiscent of the 80s and 90s action blockbusters such as Die Hard and Under Siege 2 as well as Malaysia’s own 2018 action flick Paskal, the mock terror attack and hostage rescue was the culmination of a joint training exercise which began with fire fighting and bomb disposal.

At the climax of the exercise, a “five-man terrorist cell” had launched an “attack” and took over Subang Sky Park Terminal, while taking five “hostages” consisting of four men and one woman and made demands of RM5 million in ransom.

After negotiations failed, the police were forced to send in two of its elite units — the UTK and the Tiger Platoon to handle the situation.

Tiger Platoon was first deployed and held a perimeter watch around the private terminal while their colleagues from the UTK were prepping up for the rescue operation which includes a sniper.

Moments later a 10-man UTK unit stormed the cell with a flashbang and several “gunshots” were heard. Two of the officers carried sidearms and shields while the rest were armed with assault rifles.

It only took minutes before the “terror group” was neutralised and the hostages freed.

At a press conference later, Petaling Jaya OCPD Assistant Commissioner Mohd Zani Che Din said that the exercise was conducted to identify and improve the preparedness level and communications for all agencies involved.

“A total of 350 participants were involved in today’s terrorist threat training. A total of 34 police officers and personnel took part. They consisted of the UTK, VAT 69 commandos, K9, forensics, bomb disposal and the Tiger Platoon.

“Other agencies involved include the National Security Council, Fire and Rescue Services Department, National Disaster Management Agency, Immigration Department, Customs Department, Health Ministry, Welfare Department, Communications Department and the airlines,” said Mohd Zani.

Earlier, a mock fire fighting exercise, a bomb disposal exercise and a hazardous material exercise took place. The narrative for the training was that the terror cell had caused the fire, planted a bomb and nerve gas before taking the hostages when their demands were not met.

Each agency was given the limelight beginning with the mock fire fighting exercise with the Subang Airport Fire and Rescue Services saving the lives of a pair of maintenance workers who were “injured” when a ground power unit caught fire while performing a mock servicing work on an aircraft that had just landed.

The second scenario moved to a bomb disposal exercise, where a pair of PDRM K9 bomb dogs and a remote control bomb disposal robot from the police’s Bomb Disposal Unit became the star of the show.

The third scenario saw the Fire and Rescue Services Department taking centre stage with their Hazardous Material (Hazmat) Team neutralising a “nerve agent gas” threat.

“In unknown cases we conduct radiation detection first, we get the background readings to make sure the area is safe to conduct rescue operations. Besides the survey meter, the first team also brought four-gas meters, pH meters and AP4C.

“With this, they are able to detect chemical warfare agents — nerve, choking, blister, blood, toxic and industrial compound material. The meters are able to detect gas, steam or liquid — but the liquid detection requires extra-sensory equipment,” the moderator explained.

In a real life scenario, the priority of the Hazmat Team after identification is rescue, before conducting public protective action including putting out fires if there is any, controlling any leaks, followed by spill control and finally clean up and recovery.

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