Police arrest three people after finding explosives

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Tens of thousands of people want to demonstrate against the government in Hong Kong. Previously, police had discovered an arsenal and arrested several people.

Before a new demonstration in Hong Kong, the discovery of an arms depot has increased nervousness in the Chinese Special Administrative Region. According to press reports, three people were arrested after the police found two kilograms of explosives, incendiary devices, acid, knives and metal rods in a storage room of an independence group.

Apart from one 27-year-old, the police arrested two 25-year-olds on Saturday evening. According to the investigators, they are investigating whether there is any connection with the planned protests.

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens are expected to attend a new demonstration against the government on Sunday afternoon. The focus is also on the demand for an independent committee of inquiry to examine the proportionality of police violence in clashes on the fringes of previous demonstrations.

Until the end, the organizers had to struggle for permission for the march. The police have raised strong security concerns. Massive barriers and a strong police presence are to secure the government quarter.

National Front had rented the storage room

The storage room in which the arsenal was found had been rented by the Hong Kong National Front, which is in favour of the independence of Chinese territory. According to press reports, however, the group claimed not to have known anything about the explosives. Only loudspeaker systems and information material had been stored there. The arrested 27-year-old is a member of the organization.

The police had reacted to “intelligence” when they discovered the camp on Friday evening, as reported by the South China Morning Post. The explosives were highly explosive TATP (Triacetone Priperoxide). “I think it’s without a doubt the largest amount we’ve ever found in Hong Kong,” Superintendent Alick McWhirter was quoted as saying.

Delivery law on hold

The former British Crown Colony has been unresting for weeks. Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets several times to protest against the government and China’s growing influence. After a demonstration on 1 July, activists even stormed parliament. The protests were triggered by a law that has now been put on ice for the extradition to China of persons accused by the Chinese judiciary.

There is strong resistance among the seven million Hong Kongers because China’s judiciary is not independent and serves as a tool for political persecution. Critics also warn against torture and ill-treatment in China. Head of government Carrie Lam has since suspended the bill and declared it “dead”. But she rejects a formal withdrawal of the bill, as demanded by the demonstrators.

Since its return to China in 1997, Hong Kong has been governed autonomously within its own borders under Chinese sovereignty. Unlike the people of the communist People’s Republic, the Hong Kong people enjoy the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press and assembly. But more and more Hong Kong people fear that the leadership in Beijing wants to curtail their rights. (dpa)

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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