image image

Crime in Hong Kong

Four men accused of making explosives ‘were seen near abandoned Hong Kong TV studio’ as flashes and smoke filled sky

Total of five men accused of using a mixture of nitrate salts in conspiracy to make explosives

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 9:26pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 September, 2017, 1:47pm

Four out of five men accused of making explosives in Hong Kong were spotted at an abandoned television studio as billows of smoke rose against “yellowish white” flashes, the High Court heard on Monday.

Defendants Chan Yiu-shing, Wu Kai-fu and Man Ting-lock were spotted entering the former Asia Television studio in Sai Kung on May 28, 2015, shortly before the flashes and smoke; a fourth man, Cheng Wai-shing, was seen climbing out of it following the incident, senior assistant director of public prosecutions Jonathan Man Tak-ho told a jury of five men and two women.

Hours before, the four had met a fifth man, Rizzy Pennelli, near Chan’s residence in Mong Kok, the prosecutor said.

All five have pleaded not guilty to one joint charge of conspiracy to make explosives. They are accused of using a mixture of nitrate salts, chemicals capable of producing a firework-like effect.

Pennelli denied two further counts of possessing explosives while Chan and Cheng each pleaded not guilty to one further count of the same charge.

In his opening remarks, the prosecutor urged the jury to focus on two important dates in 2015 – May 27, which continued into the early hours of the following morning, and June 14.

On the latter, a range of explosive chemicals were found at either the studio or some of the defendants’ homes. They included nitrate compounds formed with sodium, potassium or iron, aluminium powder, nitric acid and acetone, Man said.

“Experts ... will tell us that these chemicals are capable of making explosive substances,” he said.

Three weeks prior on May 27, the prosecutor said all five were seen entering the Kwong Wing building in Mong Kok separately, and leaving together at night.

Chan, who was carrying a plastic box, then travelled to the ATV premises with Wu and Man by minibus after midnight. Cheng drove off in his motorcycle.

About 10 minutes after the trio had arrived, police officers lying in wait outside the dilapidated premise began to hear a motor roar at 2.10am.

Several minutes later, Man said, the officers started to see a yellowish white flash and greyish white smoke coming out of the top floor of the premise, lasting about four to six seconds.

A second round, which came from the rooftop, lasted for about five seconds, followed by a third round, which went on for about the same as the first time, Man said. They came in approximately five-minute intervals.

Man said Cheng was seen climbing out of the building and using his phone. Prosecutors said he was calling Pennelli.

The case continues before Mr Justice Kevin Zervos on Tuesday.