Nine people were arrested in Hong Kong yesterday morning after police found powerful explosives they suspect were intended to be detonated before the Legislative Council debates the government's political reform package this week.
The highly unstable triacetone triperoxide explosives (TATP) were seized at the vacant former ATV studio in Sai Kung early Monday morning by the police bomb squad, which carried out a controlled explosion at the site.
After the discovery, the city's Organised Crime and Triad Bureau launched a series of raids, arresting five men and four women from Hong Kong, aged 21 to 34.
Some of the suspects are core members of a local radical group, which had discussed launching a bomb attack online, said a police source. They include a post-secondary student, a teaching assistant, a construction worker, a technician, and three unemployed people.
"Some of them were picked up in the vacated studio [in Sai Kung] where they allegedly tried to make home-made bombs and tested the power of the devices," the source said.
Chemical substances which could be used to make explosives were also confiscated in some of the suspects' homes during the raids, the source added.
At 11.30am yesterday, the nine suspects were being held for questioning at the police station. As of press time last night, none of them had been charged.
"More arrests are expected as the investigation is continuing," another police source said.