Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building

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Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building

The Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building (abbreviated as PLA Forces Hong Kong Building) is a 113 metre, 28 floor building located within the former HMS Tamar naval base on Lung Wui Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong. It serves as the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison. The building is still popularly known by its old name as the Prince of Wales Building (威爾斯親王大廈) and is located adjacent to the Tamar site.

History

Constructed in 1979, the building was named the Prince of Wales Building. It housed the head office of the British army stationed in Hong Kong until the territory's handover to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997 when it was made the head office of the PLA Hong Kong Garrison. In May 2000, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong passed the Military Installations Closed Areas (Amendment) Order 2000, which renamed the former Prince of Wales Barracks to Central Barracks, and the Prince of Wales Building to the Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building. The renaming of the PLA head office and barracks was made in accordance with the Basic Law and the practical situation after Hong Kong's return to China and on the basis of extensive consultation. The name, however, was not officially changed until 1 January 2002. Therefore, when the base became the Central Barracks, the old name of the building remained visible in large raised letters along the bottom of the tower for several years.

Due to its distinctive shape which likens a wineglass, the building stands out from the rest of the Admiralty waterfront buildings. Architects attribute the shape of the building to its protection. Its narrow stem with the protruding upper storeys is supposed to make it difficult to climb or attack. It is also informally known as 'the upside-down Gin bottle due to its shape. The corner of the building at the podium level which faces east (towards Admiralty MTR station) used to be a chapel under British occupation of the barracks. There used to be a crucifix visible on the exterior—however, during external refurbishment (including replacing the 'Prince of Wales Building' inscription in English with its current name in Chinese), the cross was removed.

People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong

The PLA maintains a number of garrisons in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. In addition to the PLA Forces Hong Kong Building, there are notable garrisons at the Stonecutters Island, and at Stanley Fort. Soldiers located at these three garrisons are considered to be the cream of the PLA. The soldiers are not permitted to leave their compounds, even during off-duty times to mingle with the local populace. As a military property, the PLA Forces Hong Kong Building is heavily guarded by very alert soldiers with machine guns. It is best to photograph it from somewhere along Harcourt Road and not to attract too much attention.

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