My Take

Drone plot shines light on links between radical and criminals

Former lawmaker Tsang Kin-shing’s admission of asking suspected criminal to procure device for protests is both bizarre and disturbing

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 May, 2016, 11:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 May, 2016, 11:08pm

Beijing used to say some triads were patriotic. Now we know some organised crime figures may be pro-democracy.

A suspect described as a long-time supporter and financial sponsor of pro-democracy causes has been arrested along with another Hongkonger and three mainlanders by Shenzhen police for allegedly plotting to disrupt a visit by state leader Zhang Dejiang (張德江 ) to the city this week.

Police seized 815 Hong Kong ID cards, dozens of credit cards and scores of mobile phones and other computer equipment, believed to have been used for money laundering and fraud, among other crimes.

Drone plot foiled ahead of Zhang Dejiang’s Hong Kong visit

Given the scale of the seizure, the alleged criminal activities were those of a cross-border organised syndicate.

A mainland plot to blacken the good name of pan-democrats and other localist activists? That would have been the natural reaction of many people in Hong Kong.

But one of the Hong Kong suspects surnamed Guo, 56, reportedly purchased a drone for an opposition figure named only as Tsang with the intention of disrupting Zhang’s visit.

Tsang Kin-shing, a former legislator and current member of the extremist League of Social Democrats, at first denied any connection to the case. But in an about-face, he admitted on Facebook that he had asked several people, including Guo, to help him buy a drone a month ago and that Guo was a friend.

Hong Kong Police plan to jam drones during China state leader Zhang Dejiang’s visit

Tsang, nicknamed “The Bull” by supporters, said the drone was to be used in protests and was not specifically bought for Zhang’s visit. The drone seized by Shenzhen police was of an ordinary model widely available at many electronics and toy stores in Hong Kong, so it’s puzzling why Tsang went through the trouble of securing one on the mainland. Perhaps it was cheaper across the border.

Pan-democratic politicians and activists would not think twice about accusing police and the government, from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying down, of being in league with triads. Such accusations were usually levelled with little or no evidence and reached a crescendo during the Occupy protests in Mong Kok. Never mind that some of the protesters were behaving more like triads than the real thing.

Now one of them has openly confessed to consorting with an alleged organised crime syndicate figure. I suppose some career criminals could be good guys, too.