The existence of a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) communications installation atop Hong Kong’s tallest mountain – the 957 m-high peak of Tai Mo Shan – recently came to light.
Construction began around 2010, with a geodesic dome first appearing in satellite imagery in 2011. The facility has been operational for approximately three years.
The installation sits inside a fenced compound that also includes a Civil Aviation Department terminal area radar and Hong Kong Observatory weather radar. The Hong Kong government has admitted giving the PLA a plot of land measuring 9,300 m² on which the army has constructed a geodesic dome, antenna mast, two large buildings, and a basketball court for use by the resident garrison.
The PLA has installed security cameras and also tinted building windows to reduce observation. On two occasions IHS Jane’s has observed PLA vehicles ascending Tai Mo Shan to deliver supplies or replacement staff. Personnel wearing PLA Navy-style uniforms have been observed inside the compound.
The PLA has refused to explain the facility’s purpose, claiming that “military secrecy” means it is “not appropriate for disclosure”, although it is extremely likely that it is an electronic and signals intelligence (ELINT/SIGINT) facility. If so, the facility will be similar in purpose to a British radar station based on Tai Mo Shan and used to monitor mainland China until the colony was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
The PLA occupies 18 military sites in Hong Kong covering 2,700 hectares that were transferred from the British Army as Military Installations Closed Areas (MICA) in 1997. The Tai Mo Shan radar site does not appear on official lists of PLA installations.
Full article: China builds listening station in Hong Kong (IHS Jane’s 360)