HONG KONG – Hong Kong police said on Tuesday that they had arrested nine people suspected of carrying out terrorist activities, after discovering an attempt to make explosives and plant bombs across the city.
The arrests come amid a period of political division in Hong Kong, two years after months of massive anti-government protests that rocked the city. Last week, a Hong Kong man stabbed a policeman with a knife before killing himself.
Of the nine people arrested, six are high school students. The group was attempting to make the explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) in an artisanal lab at a youth hostel, police said.
They planned to use the TATP to bomb courts, cross-border tunnels, railroad tracks and even planned to put some of these explosives in garbage cans on the streets “to maximize the damage to society,” police said.
The nine people arrested are five men and four women between the ages of 15 and 39, according to Chief Superintendent Li Kwai-wah of the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police.
Authorities said they had seized devices and raw materials used to make the TATP, as well as a “trace” of the explosive. They also found user manuals and around HK $ 80,000 in cash.
Police said the group all plan to leave Hong Kong for good and plan to carry out the sabotage in Hong Kong before leaving the city.
The TATP has been used in terrorist attacks around the world. Since 2019, Hong Kong police have arrested several people for suspected bomb plots and for fabricating the TATP.
In December 2019, authorities defused two bombs at a local Catholic school. A remote-controlled homemade bomb also exploded near a police car in 2019, as anti-government protests continued.
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