Three Hong Kong teens among 5 arrested by national security police over suspected terror plot

  • Four men and one woman were detained on Monday morning in connection with last week’s alleged bomb plot
  • The group, including 3 students aged between 15 and 17, were believed to be members of pro-independence group ‘Returning Valiant’
South China Morning Post |

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Under the national security law, the 5 people arrested could face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if charged and convicted. Photo: SCMP / Felix Wong

Hong Kong’s national security police arrested five more people, including three teenagers, on Monday in connection with last week’s alleged bomb plot by a pro-independence group, a police source said.

The four men and one woman, aged from 15 to 37, were detained in a series of raids in Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin, Sau Mau Ping, and Chai Wan.

They were arrested on suspicion of engaging in terrorist activities under the national security law, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

A source said all five, three school pupils aged between 15 and 17, a property manager, and a construction worker, were suspected members of “Returning Valiant”, the pro-independence group.

“We believe two of the students were recruited with monetary rewards to plant bombs in the alleged plot,” the source said. “The third student and the manager are suspected of funding the plot.”

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The source said they believed the construction worker was responsible for helping the group buy bomb-making materials.

As of 1pm, the suspects were being held for questioning at different police stations and none had been charged. According to the force, further arrests were possible.

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A week ago, police arrested nine people, including six secondary school pupils accused of being members of Returning Valiant, over an alleged terrorist plot to bomb courts, tunnels and streets in a series of attacks.

Police said at the time they had carried out a series of raids, including at a guest house in the busy shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui that had been turned into a makeshift explosives factory by a well-organised group it said was in the final stages of preparing the attacks.

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Last Monday’s suspects included six teenagers – four boys and two girls aged between 15 and 18 – and a staff member at Baptist University, who was suspected of funding the plot.

At the Tsim Sha Tsui scene, police seized a trace quantity of explosives, two bottles of liquid chemicals and laboratory equipment required to produce triacetone triperoxide, a highly unstable and powerful explosive known as TATP.

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The university employee was believed to have provided funding, and a source said police had frozen HK$600,000 (US$77,240) in his bank accounts. He was identified by an insider as a public relations officer working at the university’s School of Continuing Education.

His wife, who worked as an administrative staff member at a secondary school, was also arrested, the source said, adding the couple had previously driven protesters home from demonstrations.

Police said they believed there were other financial backers still at large, and were hunting them.

Last week, police said the group was particularly interested in recruiting secondary school students who were already thinking of leaving the city for good. According to the force, the gang used monetary rewards and escape plans to lure youths to engage in the bomb plots.

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