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Saturday, July 2, 2016, 15:41

Annual open day at PLA barracks in HKSAR

By Li Yinze in Hong Kong

Annual open day at PLA barracks in HKSAR
Soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison march while visitors look on during the open day of the garrison to celebrate the 19th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the barracks in Sun Wai, Fan Ling on Friday. (Photos by Roy Liu / China Daily)

People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison opened its barracks and naval base on Friday to the public, marking the 19th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The annual open day, which has been one of the most popular local events on July 1, aims to enhance communication between the garrison and local residents.

The garrison started to distribute entrance tickets five days before the two-day event, and a total of 26,000 tickets were all given out within four hours after their release.

The garrison has maintained a low-profile in Hong Kong, while local residents are curious about the “invisible” troops behind the garrison walls.

San Wai Barracks attracted thousands of visitors on Friday. There were demonstrations of training exercises by soldiers. Military equipment including rifles, pistols and armored vehicles were on display.

Annual open day at PLA barracks in HKSAR
Children enjoy a military motorcycle during the open day at the barracks.

This was the second time 60-year-old local resident Lau Tai-wai had visited the barracks. “My favorite is the demonstration by army personnel because their performance is so powerful. I have confidence in China when I see their vigorous faces,” Lau said.

For the soldiers who were stationed a year ago, the event was an exciting experience. A 20-year-old private, surnamed Cai, said he felt proud when he received the support of local residents. “People say we show ‘strength, discipline and courage’, I’m so happy to hear that,” he said.

The performance by the honor guards impressed young Chang Xiang the most. Arriving in Hong Kong from Shenzhen with his parents on Friday to visit the barracks, the 6-year-old school boy told China Daily he admired the soldiers.

"The honor guards march like one, I think they are well-trained, I would like to be a PLA soldier when I grow up,” he said.

Soldiers in the garrison are required to complete a year-long stringent training program on the mainland before being sent to the SAR. Passing an exam on the Basic Law is a must. In addition to abiding by national laws, they must also respect local laws.

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