2 members of thwarted Hong Kong bomb plot stole chemicals from university laboratory to make explosives, court hears

2 members of thwarted Hong Kong bomb plot stole chemicals from university laboratory to make explosives, court hears

Two members of a thwarted bomb plot targeting Hong Kong police and civilians at the height of the 2019 anti-government protests stole chemicals from a local university laboratory to make explosives, the High Court has heard.

Prosecutor Juliana Chow Hoi-ling also said on Wednesday the only woman of the seven defendants charged under the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Ordinance, Lau Pui-ying, handled more than HK$2 million (US$255,230) raised through crowdfunding between August 2019 and that December to support the purchase of firearms and ammunition.

Lau has been charged with one count of conspiracy of providing or collecting property to commit terrorist acts.

Protesters march from Causeway Bay to Central on December 8, 2019. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

The other six defendants – Cheung Chun-fu, Cheung Ming-yu, Yim Man-him, Christian Lee Ka-tin, Lai Chun-pong and Justin Hui Cham-wing – were jointly charged with a count of conspiracy to commit the bombing of prescribed objects.

The court earlier heard the plot called for planting two bombs in Wan Chai on December 8, 2019, when a lawful protest was taking place. The suspects had planned to kill officers after one of the bombs went off and collect their service weapons, according to the prosecutor.

Alleged plan masterminds Ng Chi-hung and Wong Chun-keung, plot member David Su and Eddie Pang Kwan-ho earlier pleaded guilty to the charge.

The court also previously heard Ng was responsible for finding firearms and weapons.

Chow on Wednesday cited a group chat record involving Ng, Pang, Lai and at least five others that suggested Pang and Lai broke into a laboratory at Baptist University and stole chemicals from its storeroom on November 14, 2019.

The prosecution alleged the pair stole flammable chemicals to make explosives, as the chat showed a group member advised Pang to avoid storing ones contained in brown bottles in direct sunlight.

The chat record also suggested some other members were in the meantime breaking into a laboratory at City University, but they struggled to find anything useful.

‘Plotters planned to use 2 bombs with 10kg in explosives to kill Hong Kong police’

Chow said police retrieved chat records from Lai’s phone and found that he and Ng had discussed making bombs. Lai even asked Ng to find more chemicals, she claimed.

“This conversation evidently shows the connection between the conspirators and what they had done in the process before pressing ahead to plant the bombs,” she said.

Chow also played a short clip retrieved from one of the defendant’s phones, which showed a person detonating a small bomb in a staircase. She added it was later confirmed the trial run was carried out in the backstairs of Lai’s office on November 27, 2019.

According to the bombing plan, Su was to fire at officers from an elevated position opposite police headquarters on December 8, according to the prosecutor. Telegram chats between Ng and Su suggested they had discussed an escape route for Su.

“The defendants are facing conspiracy charges … the more active the defendant is in carrying out the agreement, the stronger the prosecution’s case is,” Chow told the panel of nine jurors.

She asked them to scrutinise the chat records of the defendants and other subscribers of various Telegram channels in which the plan was discussed, as the evidence would show the likelihood of them carrying out the plot.

7 deny charges over plot to kill Hong Kong police officers in 2019

The prosecutor also urged the jury to pay attention to the culpability of Lau, who she said was responsible for handling funding for the team and supporting firearm purchases via crowdfunding.

Chow said Lau and Wong had set up a public channel to promote the team and call for donations.

Between August and December that year, various accounts under Lau’s name received 938 deposits, amounting to more than HK$2 million. Lau transferred some of the money to Wong’s account.

“Without that money, it would be very difficult to proceed with the plan,” the prosecutor said.

Chow told the jury to only focus on determining whether Lau acknowledged the money would be used for carrying out terrorist activity.

The prosecution will call a police officer to testify on Thursday.



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