Chief executive is told comparisons with PLA are pointless British officials have leapt to the defence of their army following Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's comments that troops based in Hong Kong before 1997 were involved in weekly bar fights and were far more badly behaved than their PLA counterparts. Quoted in Canada's The Globe and Mail newspaper last week, Mr Tsang who was knighted in 1997, said: 'Every weekend, there were brawls in the bars with the British soldiers. We have had not one single incident involving Chinese soldiers, not even traffic tickets ... with the British, it was every week.' Britain's representative in Hong Kong, consul-general Stephen Bradley, said: 'Perhaps the chief executive was recalling the occasional high spirits of some young soldiers off duty in Wan Chai's renowned entertainment district. 'I am sure he also recalls that the British armed forces stationed here did an extremely professional job and played a vital role in protecting Hong Kong's rights and freedoms for many years.' The honour of British soldiers was also defended by Christopher Hammerbeck, speaking as an ex-serviceman rather than in his capacity of executive director of the British Chamber of Commerce. He felt making comparisons between the behaviour of the British Army and PLA was pointless. 'Inescapably there were, over the years, many cases of British soldiers getting drunk and misbehaving in Wan Chai and other bars, but so too do civilians, and typically those that did [misbehave] did not represent the majority of soldiers who were well behaved and did not break the law. 'With regards to the PLA, there is not the slightest doubt that they have been well behaved, but they have been hand-picked and subjected to a ferocious disciplinary preparation before entering Hong Kong.' He added: 'Comparisons are invidious and frankly irrelevant in supporting the point which the chief executive was trying to make. Military garrisons are and should remain the instrument of last resort. 'I am sure the chief executive was not seeking to attack the British Army, an army which over the past 40 years has achieved a reputation for moderation in its dealings with civil society and has become a model that others around the region would do well to emulate.' It is not known how many British soldiers got into trouble or were disciplined for their behaviour following drinking sessions in Hong Kong. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said records pertaining to disciplinary action taken against garrison troops prior to 1997 had been archived. He added: 'The MoD is not in a position to comment on the comparison between the PLA and the British Army.' Between March 1995 and March 1996, the British military dealt internally with about 200 servicemen accused mostly of minor offences. Most of the cases involved misdemeanours not considered offences by civilians, such as losing an identity card, or failure to salute an officer. No mention was made of how many of those cases involved bar brawls in Wan Chai.