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Hong Kong police reveal alleged plot to bomb prepare stations and courts

Steve Li, the senior superintendent of the police’s Nationwide Safety Division, mentioned Tuesday 9 folks between the ages of 15 and 29 had been arrested, together with six highschool college students, a highschool worker and a college workers member.

“(The) plans are surprising as a result of it appears to focus on lots of people,” Li mentioned. The alleged plot aimed to “maximize harm to society,” he added.

The suspects had rented a resort room in Tsim Sha Tsui, a well-liked purchasing district identified for its sweeping views of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour, to construct explosives, Li mentioned.

The room had been rented since early June, however the lab had solely been “just lately” arrange, he mentioned. The suspects had the instruments and supplies to make triacetone triperoxide (TATP), police mentioned. TATP is a robust excessive explosive that was utilized in terrorist atrocities just like the 2015 Paris bombings and Brussels assaults in 2016.

Officers mentioned they discovered an “operation handbook” which allegedly contained plans for an assault in early July. Police mentioned the principle supply of the group’s monetary sources was amongst these arrested.

Authorities mentioned they discovered about $10,300 in native foreign money and $1,300 price of overseas foreign money, and froze about $77,200 in at the very least one checking account tied to the suspects.

The suspects had allegedly scouted two courtroom buildings and have been focusing on a few of the three tunnels that join Hong Kong Island to the Kowloon Peninsula, a few of the metropolis’s most vital transport infrastructure.

Talking at her weekly information convention forward of the announcement by the police, Hong Kong Chief Government Carrie Lam warned of “underground hidden terrorist actions” and urged the general public “to hitch palms to say no to violence.”

“We must always not discover any excuses for attackers. Violence is violence,” she mentioned.

The alleged plot was investigated by the Hong Kong Police Division’s Nationwide Safety Division, which can also be probing an incident final week through which a person stabbed a police officer from behind earlier than dying by suicide.

The nationwide safety unit was enacted shortly after Beijing promulgated a nationwide safety legislation for Hong Kong final yr, with none enter from native leaders.

The laws was meant to deliver an finish to the kind of political unrest that rocked the town in 2019, a motion that started in opposition to a invoice that will have allowed extradition to mainland China however morphed right into a grassroots, often violent marketing campaign for common suffrage and unbiased inquiries into alleged police misconduct.

The legislation criminalizes acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with overseas forces to hazard nationwide safety — with a most sentence of life imprisonment for all 4 offenses.

Although Lam mentioned the legislation would solely goal a “handful” of individuals, greater than 50 lawmakers and opposition activists have been arrested for “subverting state energy” for taking part in an unofficial main election the earlier summer season.

Final month, 500 law enforcement officials raided the newsroom of pro-democracy tabloid Apple Day by day, seizing journalists’ supplies and arresting the paper’s administrators. Nationwide safety police then froze the corporate’s belongings, and fewer than per week later, the newspaper introduced it could shut down and stop all digital operations as a result of untenable atmosphere. A former journalist on the paper tried to go away Hong Kong on June 27, solely to be arrested on the airport below the nationwide safety legislation.

This isn’t the primary time authorities have uncovered alleged bomb plots in Hong Kong because the 2019 unrest. Two years in the past authorities made what was then the “largest ever” seizure of explosives in a suspected bomb-making warehouse. Months later, authorities defused two accomplished bombs that have been discovered at a center faculty.

CNN’s Jessie Yeung contributed to this report.

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