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Armed officers patrol South Korea for G20

South Korea is promising a less imposing security effort as it hosts the G20 – but it forgot to mention the submachine guns.

Having watched the public furor during Toronto’s G20 over the big grey concrete slabs set up to keep the public at bay, South Korean officials say their security walls for the leaders summit Seoul next November will be coloured brightly with beautiful artwork.

Pic: Seoul

But a striking difference between security in Canada and South Korea are the police on patrol with submachine guns in hand. They walk casually among passengers at the Incheon airport outside Seoul – which is already decorated with G20 banners promoting the leaders summit there in November. The armed cops also stand guard outside the Hyundai Hotel in Gyeongju, which is the main media centre for this week’s meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors.

Protesters generally take a pass on these precursor meetings and therefore security is much lighter than it is for G20 leaders summits. Nonetheless, the police stand out.

One of the two officers standing outside the Hyundai hotel was carrying an MP7. According to the website of Heckler & Koch, the German company that manufactures the submachine gun, the MP7 “provides the penetration approaching that of an assault rifle round and is able to defeat the types of body armor frequently found in the hands of terrorists and criminal gangs, in particular that of the former Soviet Bloc special forces, now the standard NATO test target.”

The second officer was carrying a UMP 45, which is another Heckler & Koch submachine gun.

Meanwhile, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney – and to a lesser extent, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty – are featured prominently in a large poster hanging outside the Hyundai hotel.

Mr. Carney is at the front of the picture, sitting to the left of French finance minister Christine Lagarde. Mr. Flaherty is less visible on Mr. Carney’s left.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/armed-officers-patrol-south-korea-for-g20/article1768174/