China has doubled the number of its troops stationed in Hong Kong as one expert warns that the soldiers could be preparing for a “total breakdown in order.”
According to Reuters, Chinese military personnel in Hong Kong doubled last month to 12,000, with many of the reinforcements arriving in late August.
The troop movements were initially claimed to be a routine “rotation,” but were in fact the arrival of thousands of extra soldiers and anti-riot forces (as we reported at the time).
China has now “assembled its largest-ever active force of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops and other anti-riot personnel and equipment in Hong Kong,” according to the report.
According to Alexander Neill, a Singapore-based security analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the build-up is an ominous sign that a crackdown could be around the corner.
“They do seem to have an active contingency plan to deal with something like a total breakdown in order by the Hong Kong police,” said Neill. “I would think it would take something like that or some other worst-case scenario for them to deploy. But they are clearly more ready than before, and are leaving nothing to chance.”
There are expected to be more violent riots in Hong Kong to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China.
The protesters’ main demand, the withdrawal of an extradition bill, was met, but they have vowed to battle on until all five demands are satisfied.
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