06 June 18 The Straits Times by TAN TAM MEI
After declaring the area around Shangri-La Hotel a "special event area" for the June 12 summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, the Government has similarly gazetted the island of Sentosa.
In an order made yesterday under the Public Order Act, the "special event area", which comprises all of Sentosa Island as well as waters off its south-west beaches, will take effect from June 10 and run to June 14.
The Capella Hotel on the island has been chosen as the venue for the summit between US President Donald Trump and Mr Kim Jong Un, who is Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea.
"We thank our great Singaporean hosts for their hospitality," White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote in a post on Twitter last night as she announced the venue.
The US delegation had earlier been based at the Capella Hotel during talks in Singapore with Mr Kim Chang Son, the de facto chief of staff for the North Korean government, to work out logistics for the summit.
Being designated a "special event area" means there will be restrictions to certain activities. People and vehicles which enter the area will face strict security measures and may be subject to spot checks, including bag and body checks.
They may also be asked to produce identification details.
Drones and items such as flags, banners, signal flares and flammable materials will not be allowed in the area.
On Sunday, the Government had similarly declared an area in Tanglin a "special event area" for the summit.
Both areas will have a tighter ring marked out as a "special zone" - which will have even stricter security checks.
The Capella Hotel sits in this smaller zone.
The Fullerton Hotel, where Mr Kim Chang Son and the advance team from North Korea were staying last week, and the F1 Pit Building, which will serve as the base for the more than 3,000 journalists flocking to Singapore, are both outside the "special event areas".
The waters off the south-west side of Sentosa that have also been declared a "special event area" appear to be almost as large as the island itself.
Dr Graham Ong-Webb of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies said it looks like an attempt to secure the waters next to the coast line.
"The waters south of Sentosa are relatively open sea, so there may be maritime elements that might try to get on the island," he said.
Besides security forces on the ground, he also expects there to be maritime patrols along the coast line.
In another order issued yesterday, the Government declared that four vehicles will be exempted from certain traffic rules from now until June 30.
The exemptions include rules governing speed regulations, seat belt requirements and the use of lamps or lights.
They were made for the purposes of training or for con-veying "non-citizen" individuals who take part in the summit or its related activities around Sing-apore, said the order.
The Straits Times understands that all four vehicles are bulletproof and bombproof black BMW 760Li sedans with metal-armoured bodies.
They can withstand damage from gunshots, explosives and grenades.
Typically, these cars will have their front airbags disabled should they need to ram through obstacles or crowds.
They are also not from a local authorised dealer, which suggests that the cars are being brought in specially for the summit.
- Additional reporting by Christopher Tan