Macau's chief executive-designate, Edmund Ho Hau-wah, yesterday said the post-handover garrison would not interfere in the enclave's internal affairs. Mr Ho said the stationing of the garrison should not be linked to the policing of Macau's public security problems. He said his government would only request the garrison's help in 'very serious' circumstances. Under Macau's garrison law - similar to Hong Kong's and passed by the National People's Congress earlier this year - the garrison's help would only be called on in case of a natural disaster or serious social turmoil. Xinhua said this week that the garrison would have less than 1,000 troops. It is understood most of them will be based in barracks in Nanping in the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone, just north of Macau. In Lisbon last month, China and Portugal reached an agreement in principle on the future garrison and the entry of a pre-handover 'technical delegation' of unarmed PLA troops. They will not be allowed to wear military fatigues.