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Saturday, July 4, 2015, 16:26

Public invited to watch PLA live-fire drill for 1st time

By Luis Liu

Public invited to watch PLA live-fire drill for 1st time
Members of the public watch a live-fire drill staged by the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison at Tsing Shan Firing Range in Hong Kong on July 4, 2015. (Roy Liu/China Daily)

The People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison on Saturday invited members of the public to watch a live-fire drill at Tsing Shan Firing Range for the first time.

The exercise is part of the public shows during the city's reunification celebrations, the Hong Kong Garrison said.

In front of some 500 guests - mostly local political heavyweights, community leaders and heads of local educational institutions, the PLA Hong Kong Garrison carried out the 40-minute drill on imagined target of militants that organized defense in a mountainous area.

During the drill, six military helicopters were mobilized to fire on targets marked on mountains from distances of up to 1 kilometer. Mortars and rocket-propelled grenades were also used.

Among the dignitaries who observed the drill were Liaison Office Director Zhang Xiaoming, Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR Song Zhe, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok, lawmaker and chairwoman of the New People's Party Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, Chinese University President Joseph J.Y. Sung, and president of the University of Hong Kong Peter Mathieson.

Some 70 local press representatives were invited to report the drill, including journalists from opposition media such as the Apple Daily.

The Hong Kong Garrison said the move is a step-forward to enhance its transparency to the public, especially in an international city like Hong Kong.

The drill also showed that the national security is guarded by a "mighty force", it said. It reiterated that there is no specific imaginary enemy for this drill.

In January last year, the Hong Kong Garrison conducted a drill in Victoria Harbour during which two frigates and three helicopters carried out a coordinated patrol across the harbor.

The PLA Hong Kong Garrison has 18 barracks and two exercise fields in the SAR.

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