Hong Kong / China (5/4). Police are searching for two black clad suspects after five petrol bombs were hurled into the snack shop at about 2.30am on Thursday
Only a day earlier, the force revealed that police facilities had been hit 17 times since January after a message encouraging the attacks was posted to Telegram
A citywide manhunt is under way for two black-clad suspects after five petrol bombs were hurled into a store in a New Territories shopping centre in the early hours of Thursday – the latest in a string of firebomb attacks in Hong Kong.
Emergency personnel were called to the Best Mart 360 outlet on the ground floor of the Shan King Shopping Centre in Tuen Mun shortly when the attack occurred shortly after 2.30am.
“Surveillance camera footage showed two black-clad culprits used hard objects to break the shop’s display window, then lobbed five petrol bombs into the store,” a police source said.
The two attackers fled before police arrived. Firefighters doused the flames, though some goods were damaged and part of the ceiling was blackened.
Police scouted the area, but no arrests were made. Two unexploded petrol bombs and glass fragments were seized at the scene and taken for examination.
No one was injured in the incident and evacuation was not necessary, according to police.
The source said he believed it was one of an ongoing series of firebombings mounted by anti-government protesters. He said the same shop was also vandalised late last year.
“We will check surveillance camera footage to identify the culprits,” the source said.
The case has been classified as arson.
The Best Mart 360, with 85 branches across the city, has become one of the targets of radical anti-government protesters who accuse it of having ties to “Fujian gangs” that have clashed with demonstrators. The company has denied the allegation.
Thursday morning’s incident came less than 24 hours after police revealed there had been 17 fire bomb attacks involving 76 petrol bombs against police facilities so far this year. Eight people, including three students, have been arrested over alleged ties to three of those attacks.
Security around police quarters has been enhanced since January, after a message reading “burn doghouse” was posted on Telegram, an app frequently used by anti-government protesters, who use the term “doghouse” to refer to officers’ homes or police stations.
Since June, the city has experienced months of protests sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, which would have allowed the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions with which it does not have agreements, including mainland China.
So far, more than 7,000 people have been arrested for various protest-related offences, including rioting, possessing explosives and firearms without a licence, and arson. According to police, two in five of those arrested were students, with more than 1,100 still in secondary school.