A lawmaker has asked whether the Hong Kong Army Cadets Association (HKACA) will violate the Public Order Ordinance if it provides training with live bullets to its teenaged members.
Members of the new group include many students who have attended military summer camps jointly organized by the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison and the Education Bureau, where they take part in gun-firing exercises.
The website of the Military Summer Camp for Hong Kong Youth says participants will be trained in shooting with real bullets and in the disassembly and assembly of weapons.
Ip Kin-yuen, legislator from the education constituency and chief executive of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, asked in a Legislative Council meeting Wednesday whether it would be against the ordinance for the HKACA to provide such training.
Section 5 of the ordinance, titled “Prohibition of quasi-military organizations”, says any person who provides training to others to enable them to be “employed in such a manner that such employment usurps, may usurp, tends to usurp or appears to usurp the functions of the police or the Chinese People’s Liberation Army” will face imprisonment of up to 10 years.
Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said at the Legco meeting that the HKACA’s promotional materials never stated there would be gun-firing exercises, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.
Tsang said the HKACA’s mission is to provide regular youth training based on its experience in holding military training camps during the summer over the years.
He said the HKACA offers community and welfare services, not military training.
Tsang also said it is legal for Major General Tan Benhong, commander of the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison, to serve as an honorary patron of the HKACA.
Tsang, who is himself an honorary consultant to the group, said its articles of association state that honorary patrons do not participate in its operations, hence there is no conflict with the mainland’s Garrison Law.
Tsang said the government did not take part in the preparations for the establishment of the HKACA, nor did it provide any form of financial aid or assistance or jointly organize any activities with it.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has not received any application for funding from the HKACA and would carefully consider any such application according to its existing procedures, he said.
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