Bomb disposal experts called after suspected firebomb explodes outside family flat

Clifford Lo

Police bomb experts were called to a public housing block in Hong Kong on Sunday after a suspected firebomb exploded outside a family’s flat, force insiders said on Monday.

Authorities believe a mobile phone found at the scene was the detonation device and are treating the case as arson.

Three family members were inside their flat on the 24th floor of Wing Shue House at Lei Muk Shue Estate in Tsuen Wan when the device exploded with a bang shortly before 5am on Sunday. They used buckets of water to douse the fire, which blackened a wooden door, but caused no injuries.

Police suspect a glass bottle was carrying a flammable solution and the device was set off remotely.

“A mobile phone and a battery were found along with glass fragments,” one source said.

Bomb disposal officers were called to inspect the seized items before taking them away for examination.

18 months’ probation for teen who confessed to tossing petrol bombs over anger at government handling of protests

The mother, 51, is a security guard, while her 19-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son are students.

“Officers were told the family had not had debt problem or a dispute with others,” the source said, adding police were checking CCTV footage. Detectives from the New Territories South regional crime unit are handling the case.

When asked whether the incident might be linked to anti-government protesters, another source said officers were investigating all possible clues.

He said police had seized remote-controlled bombs during the unrest, sparked by opposition to the now-withdrawn extradition bill in June.

Police officers display evidence after two suspected home-made bombs were found at Wah Yan College Hong Kong in Wan Chai. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Last October, a remote-controlled explosive device hidden in a flower pot in Mong Kok was detonated shortly after police officers moved in to clear roadblocks set up by protesters nearby. No officers were injured in that explosion.

In December, two remote-controlled bombs connected to mobile phones and each packed with 5kg of high-grade explosives and nails were found hidden inside two black rubbish bags under a building supported on pillars at Wah Yan College Hong Kong in Wan Chai.

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