Hong Kong police defuse pipe bomb, arrest four for manufacturing explosives

Riot police watch as protesters march during a demonstration in Sheung Shui, near the Chinese border, in Hong Kong, on Jan 5, 2020. PHOTO: AP

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Hong Kong police said they defused a pipe bomb and arrested four men for manufacturing explosives after raiding an apartment where they found protest-related items such as Guy Fawkes masks and protective gear.

Police also searched a village house in a northern neighbourhood where they found laboratory equipment they suspect could be used for producing explosives. The men were aged 21 to 29, a senior officer said late on Tuesday (Jan 14).

The bomb was 20cm long and weighed 680g. The controlled explosion produced shrapnel that left a hole in the metal door of an elevator in the building, Senior Superintendent Chan Tin Chu told reporters.

"If the bomb was... thrown at a car, all the people inside the vehicle would definitely die," Mr Chan said.

Those arrested were suspected of being members of an anti-government protest group, he said. Three of the men were tertiary students and were also charged with illegal assembly on New Year's Day.

In early December, police said officers had defused two homemade bombs found at a centrally located school.

Police reported several discoveries of guns and explosives in recent months as pro-democracy protests that escalated in June over a now-withdrawn Bill that would have allowed extraditions to China kept a relentless pace.

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