China's People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong has released a video showing footage of "anti-riot" exercises as top brass warned protest violence was "absolutely impermissible".
The three-minute video posted on the Hong Kong garrison's official Weibo social media account included footage of troops firing guns and rockets, and of light tanks, attack helicopters and missile launchers.
The PLA has remained in barracks since protests started in April, leaving Hong Kong's police force to deal with the massive and often violent protests in the Asian financial hub.
Authorities charged 44 people with rioting yesterday, the first time they have resorted to using that specific charge which carries with it a possible 10-year jail sentence.
In one sequence in the PLA video, titled "anti-riot drill footage", ranks of troops advance with shields and truncheons on protesters, firing rifles into the air.
Tear gas and water cannons rained down on protesters, as armored personnel carriers with battering rams raced forward, and troops laid barbed wire coils on the ground.
"All consequences are at your own risk," one soldier shouted in Cantonese, during the video clip.
A red flag with the words "Warning. Stop charging or we use force" was also held aloft, similar to what Hong Kong police have long used during protests.
At the end of the clip, several protesters with their hands cuffed can be seen being taken away.
The chief of the Chinese military garrison in Hong Kong has also spoken for the first time about the ongoing unrest in the city, warning that violent clashes will not be tolerated, and that his troops are determined to protect China's sovereignty.
Chen Daoxiang, the commander of the People's Liberation Army's Hong Kong garrison, made the warning at a reception in Hong Kong celebrating the 92nd anniversary of the Chinese military.
Hong Kong has been plunged into its biggest political crisis since the former British colony's return to Chinese rule in 1997 with a wave of protests against a now suspended extradition bill, which would see people sent to mainland China for trial in Communist Party controlled courts
The protests which started in April have now transformed into broader demands, including the resignation of Hong Kong's embattled leader Carrie Lam, and calls for a "free Hong Kong".
As tensions continue to rise in Hong Kong with clashes between protesters and police grow increasingly violent, Chinese authorities have strongly condemned the violence, and issued reminders that Hong Kong authorities can request the assistance of the PLA Hong Kong garrison if necessary.
Diplomats and foreign security analysts are watching the situation closely, but believe there's little appetite in Beijing for the PLA to be deployed on the streets of Hong Kong.