On Security

Are Hong Kong Protesters Turning to Bombs?

Ben West
Global Security Analyst, Stratfor
Jan 21, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A police officer wears a bomb suit during a Dec. 6 event hosted by the Hong Kong Police Department's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau (EOD).

A police officer tries on a bomb suit during a Dec. 6 media event in Hong Kong. Several recent seizures of explosives linked to Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests have stoked fears that demonstrators may start using bombs against the city's police forces and political leaders. 

(PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)

During a raid Jan. 14 on an apartment in the Mong Kok neighborhood of Hong Kong, police found protest-related material such as masks, protective gear and, most notably, an 8-inch long pipe bomb filled with 40 grams of low explosive powder. During the raid, the bomb disposal team arrested 10 people -- one of whom led police to another property in northern Hong Kong where they found an additional 100 grams of explosive material.  The Jan. 14 seizure, however, was not an isolated case. Indeed, it was at least the seventh incident involving explosive material since anti-government protests began in June 2019. The police's close monitoring of bomb threats will continue to make it difficult for any single individual or group to make a truly sophisticated device. But that won't keep increasingly desperate protesters from pursuing deadlier weapons as they try to turn up the heat on the city's political leaders....

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