PLA Garrison boasts cruise missiles
The presence of guided missiles in the PLA Garrison has been disclosed for the first time.
A picture in yesterday's edition of the Liberation Army Daily, the PLA mouthpiece, showed military trucks and men identified as being with 'the naval missile unit of the PLA Hong Kong Garrison'.
They were shown on parade with at least three types of guided missiles at an unidentified location presumed to be Stonecutters Island. The picture is unusual because the PLA rarely discloses its full battle order, especially for as sensitive a unit as the SAR Garrison.
The weapons included three cruise missiles, a pair of ship-to-ship missiles and a pair of shore-to-ship missiles, a military expert said.
'The guided-missile unit is a regimental-level unit under the PLA navy, which is at divisional level in Hong Kong,' he said.
Stonecutters Island is the base where guided-missile destroyers berth.
Concern over a possible missile attack on the SAR was raised in July during the cross-strait tension triggered by Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui's comments on statehood.
A senior Taiwan official had threatened that missiles might be fired near Hong Kong.
The expert said the missile unit had been with the SAR-based navy as part of the original deployment at the handover.
According to official information, the Garrison is made up of an infantry brigade, a naval group and an air force unit. A breakdown of subordinate units is not provided.
The expert said the unit should be seen as a part of the defence operations for the south China region.