Malaysian special ops to protect Olympic torch: report

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19, 2008 (AFP) – Malaysia will deploy an elite police squad along with 1,000 police officers to protect the troubled Olympic torch relay amid fears that protesters will disrupt the leg, a report said Saturday. The torch arrives early Sunday, Malaysian Olympic officials said, ahead of Monday’s relay. It will be kept at an undisclosed location.

“We are well-prepared to counter any form of disturbance from anyone or any organisation,” the city’s public order chief, K. Kumaran, told The Star daily.

“Personnel from (the Special Action Squad) will be in their full operational uniform and run along with the torch bearers,” he said.

Police have also increased the number of officers manning the 16.5-kilometre (10-mile) torch route from 600 to 1000, Kumaran said.

Eighty torch bearers, including local personalities and celebrities, will carry the flame from Independence Square in the heart of Kuala Lumpur to the capital’s iconic Petronas twin towers on its four-hour journey.

The beefed-up security comes after 30 Falungong supporters demonstrated outside the Chinese embassy on Friday, alleging that the Chinese government was using the Beijing Games as a reason to persecute the group’s practitioner