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Crime

Five more held over bleach attacks on Hong Kong chain Kai Bo Food Supermarket

Five outlets hit in less than three hours in case which police say was triggered by dispute over company finding new goods supplier

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 6:34pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 7:32pm

A dispute over the supply of goods triggered a string of bleach attacks on five branches of a Hong Kong supermarket chain in a 2½-hour period last week, police said on Wednesday following the arrest of five visitors from mainland China.

The five men, aged 20 to 33, were picked up in a Sham Shui Po flat on Tuesday, bringing the number of arrests related to the case to 13. Last Friday, eight local men, aged 30 to 55, were rounded up in connection with the case and later granted police bail.

Initial investigation indicated the five mainlanders were the alleged attackers and were recruited after arriving in the city for sightseeing, Chief Inspector Lam Chi-yuen of Kowloon West regional crime unit said.

“They did not come to Hong Kong for the attacks. They were recruited after they arrived in Hong Kong. They were told there was a part-time job and they then joined,” he said.

Lam said the five were only told of the target locations and what they had to do while being driven to the destinations.

“We believe they were paid from hundreds of dollars to HK$1,000 [US$128] or HK$2,000 each,” Lam said.

Meat spoiled and employees hurt in five supermarket bleach attacks

Last Wednesday, five branches of Kai Bo Food Supermarket – in Tsz Wan Shan, Lai Chi Kok, Sham Shui Po and Yau Ma Tei – were targeted in the attacks in which bleach was poured on meat. Three employees from two branches needed hospital treatment after being splashed with the solution.

At about 3pm on Wednesday, one of the mainland suspects, aged 26, who was hooded and handcuffed, was escorted back to one of the outlets, the Yuk Wah Crescent branch in Tsz Wan Shan, to reconstruct the crime.

According to Lam, initial investigation showed the supermarket had found a new supplier of goods and bought less from the original supplier, and that triggered the attack.

Lam said the eight men arrested last week included the core figures behind the “premeditated” attacks. He believed some were responsible for driving the mainland suspects to the attack sites.

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Lam said investigations were continuing and further arrests were possible.

As of 5pm, the five mainland suspects were still being detained for questioning and none had been charged.

Police figures show the number of mainland visitors arrested for crimes in the city rose 3.4 per cent to 522 in the first four months of this year, from 505 in the same period last year.