Three young men were arrested in Mong Kok on Tuesday night on suspicion of making a homemade bomb with the aim of detonating it in an anti-government protest event.
Police said the three suspects, aged 21 to 22, are tertiary students.
They were detained after being taken to a police station, facing charges of taking part in an unlawful assembly and possessing explosives without a license.
The arrests were made after officers raided a subdivided flat on a lower floor of Lee Man Building on Tung Choi Street.
A homemade bomb, with explosives contained in an 8-inch-long metal pipe, was found in the flat.
In addition, officers seized tactical helmets, bullet-proof vests, face masks, inflammable articles, all which were believed to be protest-related, and a small amount of marijuana.
The pipe bomb, which contained about 40 grams of explosives, was detonated by bomb disposal officers at the scene, RTHK reported.
A police senior superintendent, Chan Tin-chu, was quoted as saying that the pipe bomb was a finished one and that it was quite powerful.
According to Chan, a small explosion occurred while it was being defused, and that shrapnel punched a hole in one of the lifts in the building.
The bomb would have caused significant casualties had it been used, Chan said.
Police said the arrested trio is suspected to belong to a radical anti-government protest group. Other members of the group are said to be at large, and further arrests are not ruled out.
Also on Tuesday night, police raided a village house in Sheung Shui which was suspected of being used as a laboratory for producing explosives.
A 29-year-old man, who claimed to be a mechanic, was arrested and some lab items were seized.
Investigation and evidence gathering processes are underway.
- Contact us at [email protected]