China Central Television yesterday broadcast for the first time footage of a live-fire military drill held last week by the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army. The nationwide state broadcaster aired images of a helicopter firing rounds from a machine gun on Thursday and Friday, while other reports said missiles were also fired. The drill was the first such exercise conducted by the garrison's airborne unit in the city since 1997. CCTV reported the aircraft hit all its intended targets. Before the broadcast, mainland media had reported that a drill would be taking place, quoting officials as saying it was to collect data to better equip the army. Jiefangjun Bao , also known as the PLA Daily , quoted a PLA official involved in the exercise as saying troops based in Hong Kong had to be prepared for actual combat and be trained "for victory". Wei Lijun was cited as saying the exercise helped the force collect data and equip the troops to react fast so that they would be "well prepared, responsive and victorious". Other reports said the drill was to simulate a scenario in which the garrison would help counter an external attack. PLA troops have kept a low profile in Hong Kong since the city was returned to Chinese rule. The city has no military budget and relies on the national military for defence.