Friday, August 31, 2012

14 military camps to allow servicemen to bring in camera phones

SINGAPORE: From Saturday, those enlisting for military service on Pulau Tekong - a rite of passage for many Singaporean males - can bring along their smartphones.

The island is among 14 camps letting servicemen bring in camera phones - something not allowed previously.

This policy change will be reviewed after six to nine months, with a possibility of its extension to more installations.

Camps will be divided into "green" and "red" zones.

Green zones are where camera phones will be allowed. The green zones include places like cookhouses, canteens, sleeping quarters, business centres and gyms.

However, photography or filming is still prohibited. Exceptions will only be made for certain occasions, like passing-out parades.

Other mobile devices with imaging capabilities, like tablet computers and digital cameras, will still not be allowed.

When a servicemen enters a more sensitive red zone, the camera phones have to be temporarily surrendered. Lockers will be provided for servicemen to store their camera phones before entering a red zone.

To help ensure security is not compromised, closed-circuit television cameras and digital door locks will be in place, besides signs demarcating the two zones.

Perimeter fences will also be installed where possible.

Selected camps under the Singapore Armed Forces' security zoning policy include Bedok Camp, Maju Camp, Khatib Camp and Seletar Camp.

The camps have been chosen because large numbers of Singapore's citizen soldiers pass through them yearly.

One of them is Major Lim Hock Guan, who works for an investment bank.

"Having this policy that allows me to bring my office phone into camp helps me manage the time between my office and also during In-Camp Training," he said.

Another serviceman who welcomed the move is 2nd Lieutenant Kok Chun Hou.

"Full-time national servicemen like me who are already using smartphones before we enlist are (now) able to use their smartphones... rather than having to buy a new phone," he said.

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