PLA moves firing drills away from Fanling after residents' complaints

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2013, 4:37am

The People's Liberation Army will stop its nighttime shooting drills in Fanling after nearby residents complained of the nuisance the exercises were posing, a deputy to the National People's Congress says.

Ip Kwok-him, who is also a lawmaker from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the city's PLA chief notified him yesterday that such military exercises would be moved to the Tsing Shan Firing Range in Tuen Mun instead.

The army had been conducting practice sessions at the San Wai Barracks.

In the past two weeks, troops appeared to have been engaging in "heavy-weapons fire" that caused vibrations in nearby homes, fellow DAB lawmaker Gary Chan Hak-kan said earlier.

Residents said it would last for 20 to 30 minutes each time, starting from 8am and continuing after 10pm.

Ip and Chan wrote to the PLA last week following residents' complaints that the practice was keeping them from sleeping.

The disturbance affected mostly residents from the Belair Monte estate, which is about a kilometre from the barracks. But villages at Lung Yeuk Tau suffered more as they were only about 500 metres from the site.

"Residents have expressed clearly that they can feel the nuisance from the military exercises and we simply reflected their concerns," Ip said.

Chan said the neighbourhood went through a similar problem in April and May last year and the PLA stopped the late-night exercises about a week after receiving complaints. But the problem had flared up again in the past weeks.

Before the handover, the British army used the grounds at San Wai for small-weapons practice.

It is uncertain what kind of practice the PLA is undertaking. The army did not reply to enquiries last night.