Manila: Security personnel at a popular mall in Makati City were penalised by the police for wearing toy soldier outfits as part of the establishment’s Christmas holiday motif.

It was a little less than two months before Christmas and the Landmark Mall in Makati City had prescribed that some of its private guards dress up in outfits to make them appear like toy soldiers.

The guards had donned costumes similar to the British Red Coat and Bear Skin Hat uniforms, worn by the Queen’s Guards at the Buckingham Palace, to enliven the Christmas spirit in the mall. The gimmick generally brought cheers and some visitors found the outfits amusing and unusual in tropical Philippines.

It is not uncommon for the country’s business establishments to put up Christmas decorations months ahead of December 25.

However, some expressed concern that criminals could take advantage of the situation by dressing themselves up in a toy soldier costume, similar to the ones worn by the mall guards, to infiltrate the establishment and create trouble.

News network ABS-CBN quoted Superintendent Jaime Santos, officer-in-charge of the PNP-SOSIA, as saying that a concerned citizen had brought to their attention the matter concerning mall guards wearing costumes. He said they had to be strict in enforcing policies concerning uniforms since it involves the safety of the public.

He said that guards not wearing proper uniforms are immediately considered a security risk, as this might confuse the public during emergency situations.

The guards were ordered by SOSIA to pay a fine amounting to P10,000 (Dh697.75) each, for violating rules governing private security agencies. The typical security guard earns only a similar amount in a month.

The city of Makati, particularly its Central Business District, has had its share of high profile felonies. In 2009, a store selling expensive watches was robbed in broad daylight by men wielding hammers at the Mall Greenbelt 5. In that particular incident, one of the robbers was killed and a politician’s bodyguard were killed in a shoot-out, while five other members from the same gang were killed in successive operations conducted in Cebu.

It was later found out that some of the robbers had used toy guns to scare off the assigned mall guards.