Santa isn’t just filling stockings in Indonesia. He’s also checking packages for bombs in the world’s most populous Muslim nation where authorities are gearing up to prevent possible militant attacks.
More than two dozen hotel security men dressed like Santa Claus in red outfits with white trims used metal detectors to inspect cars entering a five-star hotel in the heart of Jakarta, where malls and hotels are all dressed up for Christmas.
As policemen with machine guns looked on, some of Jakarta’s Santas frisked visitors and opened bags to check for any unwanted Christmas gifts.
“We’re doing this to celebrate Christmas. Hopefully, we can do this again next time,” said Nyoman, one of the 27 security guards dressed up as Santa Claus at Mandarin Hotel.
Indonesian police are gearing up to prevent possible terror attacks during the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, deploying 61,000 personnel throughout the 17,000 island archipelago, a senior police official said on Friday.
Indonesia has already seen sporadic bombings blamed on the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiah, a militant Southeast Asian network.
A 2000 Christmas Eve bombing of churches in several Indonesian cities killed 19 people.