Precautions and Actions to take at Commercial Premises during Sabotage

Security vs Protection

© Written by Philip CURLEWIS CHSIII CFE, Chief Consultant MSS 


What is the appropriate action? There is no definitive answer, except to say that some form of action should be taken to protect the people in the commercial premises, staff, tenants & visitors, from intimidation, injury and now the possibility of death.

Also, should there not be some form of action to prevent and/or at least mitigate against the extent of wanton damage, destruction or vandalism to property?

Hong Kong had been rated the safest city in the world for 23 of the past 25 years. This has resulted in a high degree of complacency being the norm…. this is not a criticism…. It is just human nature.

This complete sense of safety and well-being has meant that the level and type of security was commensurate with such…… again understandable.

Unfortunately, Hong Kong has changed and will likely continue to change. There is now disenchantment, a ‘disconnect’ between generations, lawlessness is increasing, a disregard for others and their property is starting to percolate & political as well as ideological differences are escalating to the level of confrontation & violence being the norm rather than the exception.

There is also no longer the ‘laissez faire’ attitude nor the seeking of compromise, nor logical & thoughtful reasoning.

A dangerous degree of irrationality, unchecked’ group think’, antagonism and reckless disregard has replaced civility, civic mindedness and behaviour deemed acceptable, as well as expected in a developed society, where the benchmark has been ‘what a reasonable person should expect’.   

As such there now needs to be a paradigm shift in thinking, especially regarding safety and security. Furthermore, the thought process now must include Protection.  There is a distinct difference between Security and Protection… which is illustrated in the diagram!

Any planned action to protect and safeguard property must now also include procedures & guides to action to address:

  1. Fire prevention and suppression – arson and use of standard firebombs & enhanced firebombs (inclusion of a gas canister to also create a blast effect & facilitate the dispersal of the flammable liquid)
  2. Mitigation and triage for corrosive and/or noxious substances
  3. Improvised Explosive devices ‘IED’s – currently three types – basic pipe bombs, timer controlled IED and remote controlled IEDs (using mobile phones as the initiator). The last two devices can be further classified – Explosive device and personnel device (inclusion of shrapnel – nails, ball bearings, etc. to enhance the devices lethality)
  4. Mass casualty event.

This blog will be in a serial form and will explore methods, tactics, evolutions for both sides and hopefully this will bring understanding regarding possible appropriate and viable action, but also effective action/counteractions……  in terms of operational needs and cost.

I would like to finish off today with some questions to get the thought process going. We must consider several primary and key factors:

  1. What exactly do we want to achieve by our action?
  2. Why do we want to undertake those actions…. Their specific purpose, aims and intents?
  3. How can those purposes. aims & intents be achieved in an efficient, effective and timely manner?
  4. What are the positive and negative impact of our actions?
  5. Will current standard ‘peace time’ methods be of any use?
  6. Will just increasing manpower have any impact on the situation or does the extra manpower just become very expensive witnesses and escalates the danger level?

All rights reserved. May 2020.  English version only.

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