Team members of thwarted bomb plot in Hong Kong trained with retired Taiwanese soldier, court hears

Members of a team behind a thwarted bomb plot targeting Hong Kong police during the 2019 social unrest received military training from a retired Taiwanese soldier and funding said to be from lawyers, politicians and other professionals, one of its ringleaders has said.

The High Court on Monday heard Wong Chun-keung founded the Telegram channel “Dragon Slayer Brigade” in August 2019 after a group of “valiant” protesters became “so amped” up and encouraged by a series of successful attacks against police that they agreed to escalate their actions and make defeating the force their main goal.

“The successes had turned our heads and we got so carried away with revenge,” Wong said on his first day in the witness box. “The team had all agreed on crowdfunding [from supporters] in the name of ‘Dragon Slayer Brigade’. I was the only person in charge of crowdfunding and finance on the team.”

Wong was testifying against his alleged former teammates – Yim Man-him, Cheung Chun-fu, Cheung Ming-yu and Christian Lee Ka-tin – who were among six men who earlier pleaded not guilty to a joint count of conspiracy to plant two bombs in Wan Chai on December 8 in 2019.

Wong, along with the other mastermind Ng Chi-hung, earlier pleaded guilty to the same charge. Wong also admitted to one count of conspiracy to provide or collect property to commit terrorist acts.

He said his team received significant support from an anti-government faction, in particular financial assistance from an unknown woman, who in late August of that year told him that she had the means to crowdfund from politicians, lawyers and the media.

White-clad men carry out the attack at Yuen Long MTR station in 2019. Photo: SCMP

Wong, who was 20 at the time and worked as a construction worker, said he was chosen as leader because he was the only one with enough savings, about HK$50,000, to subsidise the team from the start.

After quitting his job to commit to the movement full-time in late July of that year, he had full control of the living expenses of his team members, who lived off of the money raised through crowdfunding, he told the court.

Wong said he boosted the team’s profile by accepting interviews with Apple Daily and Stand News, media outlets that have since shut down, and by posting on another Telegram channel dedicated to crowdfunding.

He said he once received about HK$100,000 after posting a message calling for donations.

After the group came under the spotlight, Wong decided to reduce its size from about 30 people to an “elite team” of 10 men and named the new outfit “Dragon Slayer”, he told the court.

“We persuaded those who were always late, too weak and thin, and women to leave the team,” he said.

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

Wong told the court he only met Ng through a public Telegram channel after July 21 that year when a violent clash broke out at Yuen Long MTR station. About 100 men in white and armed with metal rods and rattan canes stormed the station that night and injured at least 45 people including protesters and passengers. Police came under fire for their late response to the attack.

Wong and Ng then texted frequently, connecting over their shared hatred of police, the court heard. The station attack made them allies and they held their first meeting between late July and early August of that year, both of them determined to take revenge against the force and triad members, whom they believed carried out the assault, the defendant said.

It was at the inaugural meeting that Wong first learned of Ng’s plan to import firearms and ammunition and hold military training for two teams they would each lead, he testified.

In a separate meeting held between late August and September on the campus of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Ng pushed ahead with his plan and suggested escalating the violence.

“[Ng] pointed out the ‘asymmetric warfare’ between the police force and the protesters, saying we had to gear up or otherwise the protest would not last,” Wong said.

2 members of Hong Kong bomb plot stole chemicals from laboratory, court hears

Ng asked him to select members from his team to join a military training camp, which he said would be taught by a veteran soldier in Taiwan and sponsored by another unknown individual, in mid-September of that year, Wong said. Some of Wong’s team members eventually attended the training session, which took place between September 16 and 28, the court heard earlier.

During that same meeting, Wong was introduced to a man known only as “Little Tiger”, who later became his supplier of petrol bombs used in the protests, the defendant said.

Wong said he gave the man at least HK$100,000 to set up a petrol bomb factory, and gave him another HK$100,000 of the incendiary devices. The man handled the logistics, sending the petrol bombs to the front lines of the protests, he added.

Wong will continue to give evidence on Tuesday.



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