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The Hong Kong city skyline. Picture: 123RF/SEAN PAVONE
The Hong Kong city skyline. Picture: 123RF/SEAN PAVONE

Hong Kong police have arrested five more people on suspicion they were planning bomb attacks, adding that more arrests could be made as the investigation continues.

The group — aged between 15 and 37 — was taken into custody on Monday on suspicion of “conspiracy to plot terrorist activities,” a violation of the national security law, the Hong Kong Police Force said in a statement.

Police in the Asian financial hub said on July 6 they had arrested nine people, including six high-school students, who were planning to use explosives to attack transport facilities such as train stations and tunnels this month.

The nine suspects were independence supporters and members of a group called Returning Valiant, Senior Superintendent Li Kwai-wah said last Tuesday. He added they had set up a lab at a hotel and were producing the explosive acetone peroxide.

The suspects wanted “to attack some of the public facilities in Hong Kong, including the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, railways, court rooms and they even wanted to lay bombs in rubbish bins on the street, with a view to maximise the damage caused to society,” Li said. The group had recruited high-school students to carry out the attacks on the promise that they would get assistance to flee the city.

The nine were accused of engaging in terrorist activities under the national security law enacted by China last year. Police also froze about HK$600,000 ($77,000) in assets. Six of them were released on bail on Wednesday and the remaining three will appear in court on Sept. 1, police said in a statement.

The arrests come amid heightened tension in Hong Kong over Beijing’s crackdown on political speech. On July 1, a man stabbed a police officer in the back in a busy shopping street and then killed himself.

After some people sought to commemorate the death of the man who stabbed the officer, police warned the public against any “attempt to romanticise or glorify the despicable act with seditious intent to incite hatred in society.”

Police have now arrested at least 126 people under the security law, which provides for punishment of up to life in prison for people convicted of secession, subversion, colluding with foreign forces and terrorism. Roughly four-fifths of the people arrested so far have been accused of offences related to speech.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com


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