Special military unit will guard Olympics | VailDaily.com

Special military unit will guard Olympics

BEIJING ” China’s military has established a special unit for next year’s Olympics that is trained to counter threats such as terror attacks, state media reported Thursday.

The Chinese government has released some details of its little-publicized security preparations in recent weeks, including reports of drills testing police readiness in handling dirty bomb attacks and hostage situations.

The People’s Liberation Army unit will help police with preventing or handle any attack, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The unit will also be responsible for air protection of all arenas and maritime safety of coastal venues.

“It is international practice for military forces to participate in security for Olympic Games,” Tian Yixiang, a senior PLA officer in charge of the military bureau at the Olympic security command center, was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “The equipment and defense abilities of the military security unit for the Beijing Olympics will exceed those in the Athens Games,” Tian said.

State media has reported that plans drawn up in 2005 allocated $300 million for security, only about 20 percent of the amount spent for the 2004 Athens Games.

Liu Shaowu, head of security of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, said in April that organizers had kept security costs low by relying on domestic providers for surveillance systems and other necessary equipment.

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