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Police lift park security after Drum Tower stabbing attack
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-08-14 11:56

Police started security checks at park gates in the capital yesterday in a crackdown on knives and other dangerous items in the wake of the fatal stabbing of an American tourist.

The Beijing Municipal Administration Center of Parks announced that local police and park staff would carry out spot inspections on tourists at entrances to 11 parks with hand-held security instruments.

The parks include the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, Beijing Zoo, Beihai Park and Fragrant Hill (Xiangshan) Park.

Police said fruit knives longer than 8cm would be confiscated and tourists carrying large packages would be stopped for checks. Those who refused to be checked or insisted on carrying potentially dangerous items would be banned from entering the parks.

Some city parks have also established their own security teams to conduct 24-hour patrols at major scenic spots, tourist routes and other crowded sites inside the parks.

Guards were seen yesterday standing at the northern entrance of Beihai Park using hand-held metal scanners to inspect visitors and their bags.

"All our guards and security instruments are ready," said park official Xia Guodong, adding that the park was negotiating with local police on the work arrangement.

Zhang Yafen, a tourist from central China's Hunan Province, said she could understand the move.

"I will surely accept the inspection. It's not troublesome," she said.

Zhang Jun, from Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, opened his backpack for inspection at the western gate of the Temple of Heaven. "We all want a safe Olympics. This kind of inspection will be useful to prevent attacks," he said.

On Saturday, a man stabbed two American tourists, one fatally, and a Chinese tour guide in downtown Beijing. The attacker then killed himself by jumping from the second story of the 13th-century Drum Tower, a popular tourist site.

Beijing was safe, though not immune to violent acts, said Wang Wei, a spokesman for the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 29th Olympic Games. "Saturday's attack was an isolated criminal act unrelated to the Games and was not targeted at the Americans," he said.

But the attack has added to the security pressure in Beijing, where a 110,000-strong security team is at work during the Olympics, including police and volunteers who work around the clock to patrol nearly every corner of the city.

"This happens everywhere in the world," said Anna Laumay from France. "Beijing is a safe city. Security checks at the park will make it safer." The Drum Tower and nearby Bell Tower were still closed yesterday after the attacker stabbed the two American tourists. The two famous scenic spots were shut down on Sunday.

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