MILITARY

PLA's new star shines brightly across harbour

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 January, 2014, 3:14am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 October, 2016, 2:38pm

The People's Liberation Army is making its presence felt in the city after it dispensed with its bamboo camouflage to reveal a huge, star-shaped emblem atop its headquarters.

The emblem, at a depth of one storey, looms over Victoria Harbour from the top of the garrison building in Admiralty.

It was unveiled after workers removed scaffolding at the site where they have been putting the finishing touches to a 20-month renovation.

It is so big that it is visible from the other side of the harbour.

And it has got the conspiracy theorists talking. Some say the huge star is a reminder to Hongkongers of the PLA's power and might, and an effort to deter any anti-Beijing troublemakers in the city.

The unveiling coincides with mounting tension in recent weeks, with the Admiralty barracks the target of two separate break-ins. Four pro-independence activists have been arrested over a protest on December 26 against the conversion of a prime harbourfront spot into a military berth.

Separately, a fifth man was arrested for trespassing at the barracks on Friday.

China analyst Johnny Lau Yui-siu said there was no need to overreact to the new addition.

"The PLA emblem is a common feature in PLA buildings," Lau said. "There is also a big star emblem on the top of the PLA garrison building in Macau."

The PLA did not respond to inquiries by press time yesterday.

The PLA headquarters was home to the British forces before 1997. Public sightings of PLA members are rare, and this, in combination with occasional barracks open days, has partially eased fears about the Chinese army since the handover.

The garrison is under the control of Beijing's Central Military Commission.