People’s Liberation Army holds military drill in Hong Kong’s New Territories

For second straight year, locally stationed garrison puts on exercise involving sea, land and air forces before invited guests

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 12:51pm
UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 11:30pm

The Hong Kong garrison of the People’s Liberation Army staged a military drill in the New Territories on Monday morning involving sea, land and air forces.

For the second consecutive year, the full-scale drill was open to invited guests.

The 45-minute drill at Castle Peak Firing Range in Tuen Mun simulated a scenario in which an armed force had occupied the army’s bases around Castle Peak and attempted to infiltrate Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

The drill involved special forces, artillery, a navy ship, air power, tanks, mortars, helicopters and anti-armour rockets.

First they launched rockets at “enemy” bases, which were marked by white circles on a hillside. Helicopters then fired missiles at the targets, followed by tanks and ground troops. The forces also simulated the rescue of injured soldiers.

Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok, Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung, Commissioner of Customs and Excise Roy Tang Yun-kwong and several legislators were among hundreds of people in attendance.

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New People’s Party lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun said it was necessary to hold PLA drills locally because Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China and drills should not just happen on the mainland.

He said: “It is definitely beneficial to have drills in Hong Kong because it can let Hongkongers know the level of [China’s] military power. It is definitely necessary to enhance our identity as Chinese.”

It was understood the drill involved drones for the first time, as well as the long-distance Hongjian 73 anti-tank guided missile.

It came amid a rising pro-independence sentiment in the city.

The Hong Kong government has taken the unprecedented step of a legal attempt to disqualify two pro-independence lawmakers for breaking the Basic Law during their swearing-in last month.

During the session, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, both of Youngspiration, pronounced China as “Chee-na”, which sounded like a derogatory term for China.

Legislative Council chairman Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen banned them from retaking the oath or attending meetings until the Court of First Instance rules on the judicial review on Thursday.