Hong Kong police uncover high explosives after taking pipe bomb suspect, hooded and chained, to village for evidence search

Clifford Lo

Police uncovered about 100 grams of high explosives buried in farmland outside a village house in northern Hong Kong, investigators said on Thursday, after heading to the site with a man held in connection with the seizure of a powerful pipe bomb.

The suspect, 29-year-old mechanical technician Wong Wai-yin, was hooded and chained when officers took him to the house just before 1pm. The bungalow, off the Lung Yeuk Tau section of Sha Tau Kok Road, Sheung Shui, was cordoned off by police before a plain-clothes officer led the suspect, who was wearing a black shirt and blue jeans, on a metal chain into the village.

Officers from the force’s elite key points and search division led the operation, with three sniffer dogs also deployed.

The property in northern Hong Kong was cordoned off for Thursday afternoon’s search. Photo: May Tse

Officers also revealed they arrested three women, the wife and mother of the suspect, and the family’s domestic helper, after a search at the house. Police said the three women were arrested for possession of explosives and offensive weapons.

Wong was among 10 men arrested in a series of raids across the city on Tuesday and Wednesday, during which police also seized cannabis, flammable liquid, bulletproof vests and helmets.

He was brought to Fanling Court on Thursday evening to face one count of possessing explosive substances, which was identified as DNT in court documents. He faces up to 14 years in prison.

He was not required to enter a plea as prosecutors asked for time to allow officers to conduct forensic examinations on the explosive and various dangerous chemicals seized.

Acting principal magistrate Don So Man-lung remanded Wong in custody and he will appear again in court on April 14.

The pipe bomb, the first such improvised explosive device found in the city, was discovered in a subdivided flat in Mong Kok on Tuesday.

Police defuse ‘powerful’ pipe bomb in Hong Kong flat and arrest three men

Another man who allegedly possessed the pipe bomb complained to a court that police did not display a search warrant when they broke into his flat and searched for evidence.

Private tutor Wong Kai-hin, 21, faces up to 14 years in prison after he was charged with two counts of possessing explosive substances at Fanling Court on Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors alleged that Wong knowingly had in his possession, or custody or under his control, the pipe bomb and numerous match-heads in the subdivided flat. They asked to adjourn the case for police to conduct further inquiries, including forensic examinations on the explosive devices, DNA analysis and retrieval of the contents of Wong’s mobile phone.

Three sniffer dogs were involved in the police operation. Photo: May Tse

Defence lawyer Norris Chan Chin-chung complained that after her client’s arrest up to five officers barged into the flat without presenting a search warrant. It was only after half an hour that he was shown the warrant and allowed to go inside the flat.

Acting principal magistrate Don So Man-lung turned down the defendant’s bail application after prosecutors objected. The defendant was remanded in custody until his next hearing on April 6.

Police believed the suspects, which included five students and a kindergarten teacher, were members of a radical anti-government group.

Officers arrested the 10 suspects on suspicion of conspiracy to manufacture explosives, possession of explosives, possession of illegal drugs, unlawful assembly and possessing instruments fit for unlawful purposes.

There have been a series of bomb threats in recent months, which police have linked to anti-government protests that have rocked the city since June.

In December, two home-made devices were found on the grounds of a Wan Chai school.

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