Hong Kong police have found a cache of explosives and weapons in a Tsuen Wan industrial building, which they say includes the city’s largest seizure of the high explosive TATP.
Officers raided Lung Shing Factory Building on Texaco Road on Friday night, and found around two kilogrammes of TATP, 10 incendiary devices, acidic substances and weapons such as sharp tools.
Police arrested a 27-year-old man, who has been confirmed as a member of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Front. On the premises, police found clothes bearing the National Front’s logo and leaflets promoting an anti-extradition protest march.
On Saturday afternoon, the political group said on its Telegram channel that the warehouse in question was used to store acoustic equipment and promotional material.
National Front spokesperson Baggio Leung told HKFP that the group has not yet been able to confirm why explosives were found there, and will expect more information to become available once the suspect is released on bail.
Leung added that the pro-independence group has been closely watched by police and the pro-Beijing camp, and the National Front’s office had also been broken into last December. He said he would not speculate over what prompted the police operation.
Steve Li, senior superintendent of the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau, said the police will investigate whether the incident was related to recent protests.
Superintendent Alick McWhirter of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit said that the high explosive found, TATP or triacetone triperoxide, was “well-known, unstable and dangerous.”
“This is an extremely sensitive and extremely powerful high explosive. It will cause exceptional amounts of damage when used. It is also very unstable, and it will react to heat, friction and impact,” McWhirter told the press.
“I think without a doubt this is the largest seizure we have come across in Hong Kong.”
Police held a controlled detonation for about a kilogramme of TATP on Saturday morning, with the rest expected to be dealt with later in the day.