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Dozens of dangerous items seized on Beijing subways
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More than 90 dangerous items were stopped from getting into the capital's subways and more than 50 passengers were turned away on June 29, the first day of compulsory security checks of all passengers, the Beijing Times reports.

The move, which was originally scheduled to last for three months in a bid to ensure a safe Olympic Games in August and Paralympics in September, would remain in place after both sports events were over, said an official with the Beijing Subway Operation Co.

In Sunday's security operation, more than 2,000 inspectors were on duty at 181 metro posts, searching for guns, ammunition, knives, explosives, and flammable, radioactive, toxic or caustic materials.

By 2 p.m. on Sunday, they had screened more than 50,000 items carried by passengers and blocked more than 90 items deemed to adversely affect public security, including gasoline, butane and daggers.

At the Wangjingxi Station, inspectors seized two kilograms of gasoline at about 11 a.m. and a passenger was under investigation, but no further information was available.

Liquids would also be subject to investigation unless the passenger took a drink in front of inspectors.

Large luggage would be checked by X-ray machines, while smaller bags would be randomly checked. More than 30 dogs were also to be used for random inspections and another 30 were being trained.

The X-ray machine check took 15 seconds, a body scan 10 seconds, a liquid check four seconds and dog check five seconds.

The metro security checks were as strict as those at the airports, but most passengers were very cooperative, said Jia Peng, a spokesman for the Beijing subway system.

According to Jia, passengers who refuse security checks or insist on carrying dangerous articles will be barred from the system or prosecuted.

The subway station at the Beijing main rail terminal is closed except for the first two hours of the operating day, or 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., but this situation reflects problems installing new fare card machines.

Under Chinese law, passengers are banned from carrying dangerous materials on public transport, including buses, subways, trains and aircraft. Offenders can be detained from five to 15 days.

Beijing has five subway lines with 140 km of track, moving millions of passengers every day. It plans to add three new subway lines this year to expand the system to 200 km.

(Xinhua News Agency June 30, 2008)

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