Australians blame Palace for low-level security

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The Independent Online
REQUESTS by the Prince of Wales for low-key security during his Australian tour are to be ignored. There has been a disagreement between Buckingham Palace and New South Wales' police minister over responsibility for yesterday's attack.

In a clear indication that he would not allow his officers to take the blame, Terry Griffiths said guidelines laid down by Buckingham Palace emphasised that 'there are to be no security forces between the Prince and the public when royalty visits Australia'. It was this apparent lapse in protection that allowed David Kang, 23, to fire two blank shots from a starting pistol as he lunged on to the stage from which the Prince was due to speak at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour, Sydney.

After tripping over, Kang was restrained by bodyguards and senior politicians. No one was hurt.

Mr Griffiths said security for the tour was being reviewed urgently. 'Nobody presented a threat to Prince Charles but in future we will look very carefully. Irrespective of what the palace says, we may invoke other arrangements.'

A palace spokesman denied it had issued guidelines, saying Scotland Yard's royalty and diplomatic protection group liaised directly with the Australian police. However, the Prince's preferences would also have been passed on.

Kang, a student, wrote to the Prince last month protesting about the detention of Cambodian boat people in Australia. Up to 300 have been held at two detention centres for up to four years. Buckingham Palace told him that the Prince could not intervene.

Kang was charged with attacking an internationally protected person, threatening to attack an internationally protected person, assault, affray, possession of a firearm and use of a firearm. Police said he faced up to 20 years in jail.

Bodyguards' 'failure', page 3

Debate on monarchy, page 13

Leading article, page 21