HKNP founder among those detained in fresh police action

August 02, 2019 16:37
Andy Chan, convenor of the now-banned Hong Kong National Party, is seen in police custody after he was detained on suspicion of possessing offensive weapons. Photo: TVB News/screenshot

Eight people, including the co-founder of a banned pro-independence organization, were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of possession of offensive weapons in a police operation that began with a raid on an industrial building in Sha Tin.

Following a swoop on a unit at Haribest Industrial Building in the Fo Tan area late in the evening, officers said they seized objects including a suspected petrol bomb, material for petrol bombs, and other materials.

Seven men and one woman were arrested on the charge of possessing offensive weapons. Some of them were also suspected of possessing explosives without a license and contravening the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance.

One of the men arrested was Andy Chan Ho-tin, convenor of the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), a pro-independence organization which was banned by government since September last year.

According to police, the arrested persons may have been involved in the recent violent protests in the city, going by the objects seized from them.

As news surfaced of the police action, more than 100 people gathered outside the Sha Tin Police Station on Thursday night, denouncing the arrests. 

The assembled crowd sprayed graffiti and erected barricades around entrances at the building as they called for the release of the arrested persons.

The crowd later moved to Ma On Shan Police Station after learning that the eight were transferred there before they eventually dispersed at around 3am when police vans carrying officers in riot gear arrived at the scene.

Chan’s lawyer, after meeting with him at 4 am on Friday, issued a statement on the activist's behalf. In the statement, the HKNP founder urged: “Don’t fear white terror, don’t be afraid of being arrested. There is only the path ahead, there is no turning back.”

In other news, police seized a batch of completed and partially completed smoke bombs as well some materials and related tools in a unit of Tin Shui Estate, a public housing estate in Tin Shui Wai on Thursday night.

Two women and one man, aged between 23 and 47, were arrested for possessing explosives without a license.

Police are investigating their trio's motives and sources of the materials seized to find out if the three had something to do with a violent incident earlier this week.

In the wee hours of Wednesday, fireworks were launched by an unknown person into a crowd of demonstrators who were gathering outside Tin Shui Wai Police Station to protest against the arrest of some young people over a Lennon Wall conflict.

Six were injured during the chaos arising from the incident.

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