Pan-democrats condemn PLA barracks protest as 'ineffective, unnecessary'

The PLA had reported to the police that four protesters, carrying a colonial Hong Kong flag, broke into their Central Barracks after ignoring a guard’s warning

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 December, 2013, 2:43pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 December, 2013, 8:21am

Pan-democrats say the action of four protesters who forced their way into a PLA barracks on Thursday was pointless, with one lawmaker saying the only thing it achieved was to break the law.

The People's Liberation Army told police that the four, carrying a colonial Hong Kong flag, broke into the Central Barracks after ignoring a guard's warning.

They were apparently protesting against a contentious plan to turn a prime piece of harbourfront land in Central into a military berth, and it was reported that they called for the PLA to "get out" of the city.

The government says the site must go to the army under a 1994 Sino-British deal. Activists fear a loss of access to the harbour.

Police said yesterday that they were still investigating the case and no arrests had been made.

The four were members of a group calling for policy priority for Hongkongers, headed by Billy Chiu Hin-chung, 28, a former member of the League of Social Democrats. But league vice-chairman Avery Ng Man-yuen stressed that his group had nothing to do with the protest.

"I agree with their concern [about the military berth] issue, but I don't think a protest like this will have much effect," Ng said.

Labour Party vice-chairwoman Cyd Ho Sau-lan added: "Apart from getting a picture taken and venting discontent, [they] broke the law. I don't think Hongkongers should be trying to break into the PLA barracks." She said it would be more effective to take any concerns to the Town Planning Board and the Legislative Council.

A PLA spokesman on Friday said that by breaking into the military zone near Tamar, Admiralty, the protesters might have violated the garrison law and the public-order ordinance.

Legco security panel chairman Ip Kwok-him, who is also a local deputy to the National People's Congress, said the incident was unlikely to cause many ripples in the central government.

Veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu agreed that the PLA would be unlikely to step up security measures on the basis of an "isolated incident".

The PLA could not be reached for comment yesterday.