A haul of flammable solution that could produce dozens of firebombs and be used to attack police in anti-government protests was found hidden in a Hong Kong boutique, a senior officer said on Tuesday.
Five plastic jerrycans of paint thinner and several cans of petrol were discovered along with more than 20 empty bottles, 20 gas canisters and some protective gear such as gas masks and goggles in a boutique in Wan Chai at about 10am, assistant Wan Chai district commander (crime) Superintendent Kwan Chung-yin said.
The dangerous goods were discovered when officers arrested suspects in connection with a firebomb attack at Happy Valley Police Station on March 30.
At about 2.15am that day, three black-clad men got off a car on Kwai Fong Street and hurled three bombs at the police station’s car park.
The fire burned out before firefighters could arrive. The fourth flaming projectile landed on Kwai Fong Street, leaving a parked car blackened. No one was injured in the incident. The three men fled in the same car, driven by another person, after launching the attack.
After identifying the suspects, officers swooped into action and arrested four men aged 18 to 44 in North Point, Chai Wan, Wong Tai Sin and Tsz Wan Shan at about 10am on Tuesday.
Around the same time, officers raided the Wan Chai boutique run by the family of one of the suspects, aged 23, who was picked up in North Point.
Kwan said the dangerous goods were found inside the storeroom of the boutique. In the shop, officers caught the 20-year-old brother of the suspect arrested in North Point.
Police also arrested the mother of the two brothers in Wan Chai for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
“Investigation showed she had sent a text message from her mobile phone, asking her younger son to destroy evidence,” the superintendent said.
He said police were still investigating the possible uses of the dangerous goods.
On Tuesday evening, the six suspects were being held for questioning. None of them had been charged.
Security around police stations and officers’ quarters has been enhanced since January, after a message which read “burn doghouse” was posted on Telegram, an app used by anti-government protesters who use the term “doghouse” to refer to officers’ homes.
Hong Kong has experienced months of protests sparked in June last year by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, which would have allowed the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions – including mainland China – with which it does not have any such agreements.
Since the protests began last June, radicals have destroyed traffic lights, set street fires, attacked police stations, vandalised rail facilities, shops and banks, and occupied universities. They have also attacked police officers on the front lines, hurling petrol bombs and bricks.
Police responded by firing more than 16,000 rounds of tear gas, 10,000 rubber bullets, 2,000 beanbag rounds and 19 live rounds.
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This article Haul of flammable solution capable of producing dozens of firebombs found hidden in Hong Kong boutique first appeared on South China Morning Post