With the Hong Kong protests showing no sign of letting up, a new narrative has emerged; that anti-government activists are "sliding into terrorism with home-made bombs" designed to inflict mass casualties.
On Sunday, Hong Kong police reported that they foiled a second bomb plot in under a week - arresting three men who were allegedly testing home-made devices and chemicals in a secluded area, according to SCMP.
According to Superintendent Suryanto Chin-chiu from the bomb squad, officers found a transmitter and a receiver at the scene and believed the devices were used to detonate the bombs at short-range using a low frequency. -SCMP
"The amount [of explosives] was not a lot. But intelligence showed there were two purposes behind the plot – one was to upgrade the power of the bombs, and the other to launch attacks at future assemblies or rallies," said Senior Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah.
Acting on intelligence, officers from the organised crime and triad bureau ambushed the trio in scrubland off Siu Lang Shui Road in Tuen Mun in the early hours as they carried out tests.
In the Tuen Mun operation, officers also seized a radio-controlled detonation device and protective gear, including shields, bulletproof vests, a steel plate and gas masks at the scene. The tools were believed to have been used during the tests.-SCMP
Earlier in the week two home-made bombs were defused in Wan Chai, according to reports.
Adding to the case for home-grown terror, SCMP notes that the alleged bomb plots come as "police said three men and two women, aged 15 to 18, had been arrested in suspected connection with the death of a 70-year-old man who was hit by a brick during a fight between masked protesters and Sheung Shui residents last month."
Police on Saturday added that they have recovered 34 petrol bombs, 20 smoke bombs, 12 corrosive bombs and a bunch of easily flammable items following calls from City University staff regarding potentially dangerous items on their Kowloon campus. University officials also reported the discovery of dangerous chemicals which were disposed of by police.
Accompanying SCMP's Saturday report is an Op-Ed, titled "Hong Kong’s revolution is sliding into terrorism with home-made bombs primed to kill and maim."
While this great revolution of our times has removed Hong Kong’s bragging rights as one of the safest cities in the world, the security situation has not been deemed alarming enough for people to have to be dragged through metal detectors and frisked by security guards when entering shopping centres, cinema halls, train stations and other vulnerable public venues.
In the past I have often contemplated how easy it would be for the terroristically inclined to set off bombs pretty much anywhere, in such a trusting and open society, but always perished the thought. Not in Hong Kong. Not by Hongkongers.
I hate to report I’m not so sure any more these days, now that the revolutionaries have taken to building home-made bombs packed with high explosives and shrapnel. Just this week, the police bomb squad defused two improvised explosive devices found on school grounds by chance.
If this keeps up, China will be virtually forced to shut down the protests - all in the name of fighting terrorism.