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  • Apr 17, 2014
  • Updated: 1:49pm
NewsHong Kong
MILITARY

PLA drill in Victoria Harbour seen as warning to Hong Kong protesters

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 January, 2014, 4:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 January, 2014, 4:02am
 

The People's Liberation Army staged its first air-and-sea drill of the year across Victoria Harbour yesterday in a move seen as a warning to protesters such as those who broke into the garrison's headquarters in Admiralty last month and to the emerging Occupy Central movement.

Two frigates and three helicopters carried out a co-ordinated patrol across the harbour yesterday morning, Xinhua reported.

It said the drill had made the PLA "more familiar with the air-and-sea situation of Hong Kong and has improved its ability to handle emergency situations".

Activists of independence group Hongkongers Come First broke into the Central Barracks in Admiralty on December 26, waved a colonial-era Hong Kong flag and called on the PLA to "get out".

Activists have protested outside the barracks since then.

China analyst Johnny Lau Yui-siu said the high-profile drill was intended to issue a strong warning to the protesters.

"The PLA not only wants to reflect the army's stern stance on the trespassing incident, but also to tell Hongkongers that they would be ready to carry out their duties if they are needed to handle the Occupy Central movement," he said.

But Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said the garrison had been "restrained and humble" in conducting the drill to "avoid making the Hong Kong public nervous".

He said the navy's role had been important because the plan for a military pier on the Central waterfront was a focus of the barracks protest.

Shanghai-based naval expert Ni Lexiong said he believed the drill would be a deterrent to "disobedient forces" in Hong Kong. "Although it is just a regular drill, it was held at a sensitive time," he said. "Everyone in Hong Kong should inevitably connect the two things together.

"[The drill] was aimed at warning the public that Hong Kong could continue to enjoy a certain level of freedom, but should not challenge the central government's political authority, with military means being Beijing's last step to maintain Hong Kong's prosperity and stability."

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office expressed "grave concern" after the barracks trespassing incident, while former Basic Law Committee member Professor Wang Zhenmin said the protesters had "gone too far" and "tested the bottom line, harming relations between Hong Kong and Beijing".

The military also conducted an air-and-sea drill in the harbour last July. That drill was carried out less than a week after the annual anti-government march.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

Carparklee
An appropriately higher level of public appearing of the PLA in Hong Kong is good. If you don't show up, most of the people will tend to forget you are actually part of Hong Kong.
lucifer
"seen as a warning to protesters "
Are you kidding. I guess if they are planing to attack protestors with helicopters and a frigate...All of these spokes holes are re-tard-ed.
syracuse37
I am glad so glad its great news :) and don't worry guys you can trust the PLA, they are peaceful or so I am told by fellow Hong Kong people when its about Japan our Indonesia or Philippines. I am quite glad to know that Hong Kong might just feel a breeze of what it feels like. But lets be honnest China doesn't want to change HK status, they just want people to remember who's really boss.
Kubrick
This is a silly story. I don't see any evidence of a 'threat or warning' in a rescue exercise unless you are completely delusional. Unfortunately, certain elements in Hong Kong cry wolf at every opportunity and in the process have forfeited the respect of sensible people.
ejmciii
Or perhaps you just don't want to see it because you are buying the People's Daily story.
ann.wei.121
A childish act if they really do so to flex their muscles, who could doubt the PLA have the power to take over Hong Kong if that is what they want ? Like, who could doubt the PLA had the power to massacre the students at TianAnMen ? Maybe it is better to take over now, save time to fool the world in a "Chinese Opera" with the so-called "one nation two systems" and a fake "high degree of autonomy" , Hong Kong is being ruled by western district offices and an underground CPC member anyway.
Diomedea
This article does not really have much basis in any facts, at least from what is presented. A couple of opinions don't count, even from experts. We shall see if it represents a shift in attitude towards Hong Kong, but one swallow does not make a Summer. I don't think anyone in Hong Kong is under any illusion that HK could resist if the Central government decided to step in. On the whole, I feel that the Central government has been very careful not to visibly flex its military muscle in Hong Kong. This exercise might be hinting at intervention, but it is hardly an overpowering one, and it does make sense for the military to carry out exercises in strategic locations.
superdx
Hong Kong is not a strategic location
mercedes2233
In strategic locations in HK.
whatever
Article reads like "we found some guy on the Internet who made some pretty wild claims about a warship passing through the harbor".
I mean seriously--this was weak. What are they going to do? Shell Central with a Frigate? Strafe Occupy Central from gunships?
Get serious and write something real instead of a puff piece designed to suit someone other than the readers.

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