Police defuse home-made bombs found outside Wan Chai school

December 10, 2019 12:32
Police Senior Superintendent Steve Li (right) and senior bomb disposal officer Alick McWhirter announce the discovery of the explosive devices on Monday. Photo: HKEJ

Police defused two home-made bombs found near Wah Yan College Hong Kong on Queen's Road East in Wan Chai on Monday evening, saying the explosives were powerful enough to kill people.

The Jesuit-run secondary school on Tuesday distanced itself from the discovery, saying the devices were found outside the school gates and there was no evidence linking them to anyone from the school.

Senior Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah of the Police Organized Crime and Triad Bureau said a report was received at around 5:30 p.m. about two suspicious packages in an open area close to the all-boys school, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Police said inspection by bomb disposal experts showed that the package contained two sieves filled with 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of high-grade explosives and wrapped in cling film.

Two mobile phones believed intended to serve as detonators were attached, Li said.

Police temporarily closed Queen's Road East and took the devices away from the site before they were defused.

Senior bomb disposal officer Alick McWhirter said the bombs were home-made and ready to be set off.

The devices could have a range of 50 to 100 meters, or even farther.

The two devices “have only one function – to kill and to maim people”, McWhirter said, noting that the devices had nails to serve as shrapnel when set off.

“Given the quantity of the explosives, and the fragmentation, had these devices been placed and had they functioned, they would have killed and injured large numbers of people. These were exceptionally dangerous and credible devices," RTHK quoted McWhirter as saying.

Li said it could not be immediately determined whether the devices were linked to any incident.

He said investigators had to open up circuit boards connected to the devices, determine the source of the explosive materials, and find out who put them there and why.

Although the site where the bombs were found was a private place, Li said inspection showed that people such as street sleepers had been able to enter the area.

Wah Yan College, a grant-in-aid school, said in a statement that while the site belongs to the school, it is outside the gates and open to the public. 

It stressed that there is no evidence indicating any of its students or teaching staff were linked to the incident.

The school said it has offered its full cooperation with the investigation and asked the police to ensure the safety of all its members.

In an online notice, it said classes would remain open on Tuesday, adding that all classes and examinations would be held as scheduled on the day.

– Contact us at [email protected]