Senior Superintendent Li Kwai-wah, left, of Hong Kong Police National Security Department, and senior bomb disposal officer.
Senior Superintendent Li Kwai-wah, left, of Hong Kong Police National Security Department, and senior bomb disposal officer Alick McWhirter, right of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau, pose with the confiscated evidence during a news conference.

Nine people have been charged in Hong Kong on suspected terrorism charges after they were arrested trying to make homemade bombs.

Police said Tuesday five men and four women between the ages of 15 and 39 years old who dubbed themselves “Reliant Valiant” were arrested Monday. Six members of the group were secondary schoolchildren. Senior superintendent Steve Li of Hong Kong’s new national security unit says the group was attempting to make bombs out of a highly explosive chemical known as triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, in a makeshift laboratory set up at a hostel.

Li said the group was planning to deploy the bombs across Hong Kong at a cross-harbor tunnel, railways, courtrooms and trash cans. He said police also seized about $11,000 in cash and froze as much as $80,000 in bank accounts they believed was linked to suspected terrorist activities.  

Police hold a news conference with confiscated evidence seen at front, the police headquarters in Hong Kong, July 6, 2021.

Various other items were also seized, including operating manuals and plans to leave the city, according to authorities.

The arrests come as Hong Kong falls further under the grip of mainland China, which imposed a harsh national security law on the semi-autonomous city last year in response to massive and often violent anti-government protests in 2019. 

 

This report includes information from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.