《PLA tools up in Hong Kong》
2014.10.06 IHS Jane's 360
The Hong Kong Garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) appears to have heightened its preparedness in light of pro-democracy protests sweeping the city in the past eight days.
IHS Jane's observed a large number of armoured vehicles at Gun Club Hill Barracks, a 25-acre PLA facility in downtown Kowloon.
A local resident noted the barracks were hosting "abnormal levels" of military equipment and that it was the most ever seen. About 25 armoured vehicles, mostly Type 91 (ZFB91) 6×6 internal security armoured vehicles, were present. Some ZFB91s were covered by tarpaulins, but most appeared ready to roll.
PLA guards armed with pepper spray canisters and riot shields were patrolling the perimeter fence. In addition, military trucks had wire mesh grilles over windows to protect them from potential rioters. From this PLA base, troops could reach protest epicentres in the Admiralty and Mong Kok districts within minutes. Troop contingents in the 17 other PLA bases in the Hong Kong special administrative region are likely to be on high alert too.
There have been mass sit-ins at several locations in Hong Kong, resulting in forcible police action on 28 September when 87 teargas rounds were fired. However, the PLA has taken an extremely low-profile approach, leaving Hong Kong police to handle the situation. After social media reports on 28 September – subsequently debunked – reported PLA mobilisation, the Hong Kong government announced it had no intention of calling in the army.