HK police busts underground forces planning for separatist activities
Published: Mar 22, 2022 07:58 PM
Hong Kong police officers on duty Photo: CFP

Hong Kong police officers on duty Photo: CFP

The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) has busted an underground group seeking to set up a separatist force with weapons, money and electronic communication equipment in an enforcement operation in three districts of the city, reported Hong Kong media. 
A man and a woman, aged 59 and 62, respectively, were arrested in the operation for "committing an act with intent to incite" in Tsim Sha Tsui on Sunday. 

The police seized a large number of weapons, and found posters and detailed notes in the homes of the arrested people. The posters included slogans like "Liberate Hong Kong" and "Hong Kong Independence," said Steve Li Kwai-wah, senior superintendent of the national security division of the HKPF, at a briefing on Tuesday.  

The operation covered Tsim Sha Tsui, Sha Tin and Ma On Shan districts and busted a group that had been active underground since early 2020, with the goal of organizing a "Hong Kong independence" armed force, said Li. 

A total of HK $380,000 in cash, some of it in foreign currency, was also seized in three districts. The seized weapons include one air rifle, two axes, three swords and six knives, all of which were opened and lethal. There are also eight crossbows and 30 steel-tipped arrows.  

The 59-year-old man is a martial arts instructor with foreign background and the 62-year-old woman is an assistant. Both of them are suspected of possessing offensive weapons and firearms without a license.

Li pointed out that the investigation showed that several inflammatory articles had been posted on social media platforms since March 2020. The main aim of these articles is to incite others to use force against the government and oppose the epidemic prevention policy in Hong Kong and invite others to a martial arts school for training. 

The authors of the articles intend to create and spread hatred by writing about local and overseas events and use false information so as to cause people to despise the central government and the HKSAR government, and incite others to use violence, said Li. 

In addition to making posts on social media, the group also performed rituals, such as offering sacrifices and saluting to the so-called "righteous men" at "ghost killing training classes" held at martial arts schools, he said. 

The national security division will continue discussions with the Department of Justice of the Hong Kong government on more appropriate charges against the arrested people, including offences under the national security law for Hong Kong, as their behaviors have gone well beyond the stage of incitement, Li said. 

He added that the police will actively follow up whether the weapons are related to previous violent cases and whether the arrested individuals are connected with other radical groups as some of the seized weapons show signs of having been used and are believed to be related to previous violent activities, especially those commonly used during riots in 2019. 

John Lee Ka-chiu, chief secretary for administration of the Hong Kong government, said in July, 2021 that the lone wolf terrorist attacks might still be a risk to security in Hong Kong despite that the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong has brought many threats under control.