South Korea had 14 purported terror threats in the first seven months this year but seven out of 18 regional fire defense headquarters do not have an anti-terrorism squad to respond to them.
According to government data revealed by Rep. Hong Chul-ho of minor opposition Bareun Party, the seven without an anti-terrorism response team, as required by law, are Gangwon, North Jeolla, South Gyeongsang and Jeju provinces, and Daejeon, Changwon and Sejong cities.
The Act on 119 Rescue and Emergency Medical Services, amended in March last year, requires all regional fire defense quarters to establish a special rescue squad for “professional response to terrorism or special disasters.”
From January till the end of July, there have been 14 terrorist threats, five of which occurred in Seoul.
Among the cases, nine were bomb threats, while four were bioterrorism threat involving white powders. The remaining one is a case in which a criminal threatened to go on a shooting rampage in Gwanghwamun Square, central Seoul.
“South Korea can also be a target of terror attacks, and it is crucial that the nation is aware and prepared. Provincial governments need to immediately establish anti-terrorism squads,” Rep. Hong said.
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com)