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Organizers Tighten Security at PIFF

2005/10/05 | 153 views | Permalink | Source

SEOUL (Yonhap) _ Organizers of the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) said Tuesday they have increased security for the festival following bombings in London and Bali, Indonesia that left hundreds of people killed or injured.

Twenty security checkpoints will be installed inside and outside of the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival in Busan, South Korea's largest port city, organizers said.

This is the first time PIFF has set up checkpoints to cope with possible terrorist attacks.

To prevent a stampede such as the one that occurred on Monday before a music concert in Sangju, about 270 kilometers southeast of Seoul, about 150 police officers will be deployed at the festival, the organizers said.

The Sangju accident occurred when about 10,000 concert goers swarmed to enter a gate at an outdoor stadium to get unreserved seats. Eleven people were killed and 96 others injured.

PIFF organizers also plan to restrict movie fans' access to a red carpet on which movie stars will walk to attend the ceremonies by placing a knee-high fence around it.

"We have recently met officials from related government offices in Busan and completed preparations against possible accidents", said Kim Ji-seok, a chief programmer of the PIFF.

The PIFF, which marks its 10th anniversary this year, is set to open tonight for nine days with screenings of 307 films from 73 countries.

Bae Yong-joon, star of the hit South Korean soap opera "Winter Sonata", is unlikely to go to Busan to take part in the festival, one of the organizers said.

Bae informed festival authorities that he decided not to attend official events promoting his new film "April Snow" scheduled for Saturday, the official said on condition of anonymity. He cited safety reasons, the official added.

In November, 10 of Bae's Japanese fans, mostly middle-aged women, were injured in Japan while trying to get a glimpse of the star.

Busan could become a relatively high-profile terrorist target during the festival and the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in November.

South Korea has the third-largest contingent supporting the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq behind the United States and Britain, both of which have experienced terrorist attacks.

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