The chairman of a new military-style youth group wants to calm suspicions about its "secretive" inauguration ceremony over the weekend. Bunny Chan Chung-bun says he had tried in vain to get more media allowed inside the People's Liberation Army (PLA) base where the event was held.
Only a handful of news organisations, all pro-Beijing, were invited to the closed-door inauguration of the Hong Kong Army Cadets Association on Stonecutters Island. Critics accuse it of trying to brainwash young people.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying defended the association, saying it was the responsibility of everyone in the country to "serve the motherland" - as members of the association swore to do on Sunday.
Chan explained they had chosen the PLA naval base to host the ceremony because it was rent-free.
"On Saturday, many media outlets asked me if they could get inside to report," he told DBC radio on Tuesday.
"But I could not secure the approval. That's because it is a restricted military site. The PLA is very strict about it. Approvals are needed to get in and out."
Media invited included newspaper Wen Wei Po and state broadcaster China Central Television.
The association has no website and did not announce its inauguration, or even its existence, before the event.
Chan said the association was founded by young people who had taken part in a summer military camp for Hong Kong youth where they learned marching skills. They wanted to pass on the skills to more young people so they could get fit and strong.
Several dozen were sworn in, all of them university students.
According to an Education Bureau circular sent last year to all secondary schools, the camp was organised by the bureau, the PLA and the Concerted Efforts Resource Centre, whose founding president was former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa's wife, Betty Tung Chiu Hung-ping.