HONG KONG — After discovering an effort to build explosives and install devices throughout the city, Hong Kong police said they detained nine persons on suspicion of terrorist activities on Tuesday.
The arrests came two years after the semiautonomous Chinese city was shaken by months of huge pro-democracy rallies. The arrests came a year after Beijing enacted a stringent new security regulation in the former British colony.
Six of the nine people arrested are students in secondary school. According to authorities, the gang was attempting to create the explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) in a makeshift laboratory in a hostel.
They intended to use the TATP to bomb courts, cross-harbor tunnels, trains, and even put some of the explosives in garbage bins on the street “to maximize harm to society,” according to authorities.
According to Senior Superintendent Li Kwai-wah of the Hong Kong Police National Security Department, the nine people arrested include five males and four women aged 15 to 39.
Police also froze assets worth around 600,000 Hong Kong dollars that they believe are related to the scheme. Authorities claimed the gang wanted to depart Hong Kong permanently and planned to carry out the sabotage in the city before leaving.
TATP has been used in a number of terrorist incidents throughout the world. Since the beginning of 2019, Hong Kong police have detained a number of persons for alleged bomb plans and TATP production.
“They should not be misled into believing that government oppression is the only option… but that violating the law is OK if you’re attempting to achieve a certain goal,” she added. “They should not be persuaded that they may find justifications to commit violence.”
An envelope containing “white substance” had been mailed to Lam’s workplace, she claimed. The chemical was still being examined Tuesday, but police said they did not believe it was hazardous.
Authorities defused two explosives at a local Catholic school in December 2019. During the anti-government riots in 2019, a remote-controlled improvised device was detonated near a police car.