Sniper video 'aimed at sending a warning'

Top News | Mandy Zheng 30 Jun 2020

Snipers at the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong garrison have held a shooting exercise just before the city's national security legislation is expected to be passed.

It is understood that the National People's Congress Standing Committee session will vote to approve the proposed law today.

PLA Daily, the army's official newspaper, released details of the sniper exercise on Weibo, describing it as a "race for the champion of guns."

People's Daily, mouthpiece of the Communist Party, also reported the drill, saying troops "hit the target every time without a miss."

Military experts suggested that as snipers are especially suitable for battles in cities, the training could be considered a threatening sign from Beijing before the security law comes into effect.

The two newspapers, along with the Hong Kong garrison's official WeChat account, posted a two-minute video showing how soldiers were trained.

Marksmen fired shots at motionless and moving targets and while riding on armored vehicles. They also crawled through obstacles and dismantled bombs.

At one point, a group of eight snipers dressed in camouflage were seen lying prone on the ground and firing rifles, with dozens of other soldiers watching.

Nearly 100 targets were shot at during the drill, which consisted of 15 courses and involved four types of firearms.

"All the courses are based on real battle experiences, said Wang Bing, leader of the sniper team, in the video. "The main goal is to train the team's ability to catch the targets rapidly and hit them precisely."

Team member Jiang Kai said the exercise is "a huge challenge in terms of mental strength."

Female soldier Huang Aiping said she was awarded the title of "top grade sniper," with the video showing several soldiers receiving certificates and medals.

Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong believes the exercise serves as "a warning from the central government to the city's separatists."

He said Beijing's message is clear in that this is the first time the Hong Kong troops released a video about snipers only.

Snipers are particularly useful in suppressing unrest in cities, considering Hong Kong's dense population, Wong said.

With snipers deployed, there will be no need for a large number of troops or special forces units to act, Wong added.

Commentators also said the aggressiveness implied by the sniper's video is clearly different from the well-trained and reserved image that PLA's Hong Kong garrison used to demonstrate.

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