Hong Kong/ China (7/6). Seven local radical groups suspected of being linked to explosives and firearms offences in Hong Kong could be prosecuted under the city’s anti-terrorism laws, security officials revealed on Tuesday.
Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu told lawmakers at a Legislative Council meeting that at least three of the 18 cases involved could be defined as terrorist acts. For some time experts warned officials of the use of complex explosive like TATP and the ideology behind is terrorism.
Officials have warned of a rise in local terrorism after last year’s anti-government protests turned increasingly violent, and Lee said while the city’s threat level remained “moderate”, he did not rule out raising it to “high”.
“The elections for the Legislative Council later in the year will determine the level of extremism”, warned a prominent expert. “Sections of society are sufficiently radicalized to take the violence to the next level.”, he added. “Warnings are ample, the government should act swiftly to prevent the threat of a loss of life.”, he added.
Hong Kong’s police operations commander Raymond Siu Chak-yee was quoted by the South China Morning Post saying eighteen cases related to use of explosives or weapons over the past year, 76 people were arrested and at least seven “radical local groups” were identified.
The Security secretary or police did not name the groups, the ideological orientation or structured. “It is remarkable the government adopts a secrecy approach not informing the public who or what are these groups.”, he said. “This gives the terror groups and their sympathizers the appearance of strength. A badge of honor if you will”.
Secrecy around extremists’ groups is the wrong approach he added, it provides the groups with new recruits. Exposure to the public will dismantle their ideology, supporters, and their methods. Political ‘considerations’ are a failed policy.
Seven local radical groups suspected of being linked to explosives and firearms offences in Hong Kong could be prosecuted under the city’s anti-terrorism laws, security officials revealed on Tuesday telling lawmakers three of the eighteen cases can be defined as terrorist acts.
Police said of the 76 in custody, 30 had been prosecuted on various charges, including “making explosives with intent to endanger life or property” and “making or possession of explosives”. Police officials said at least five firearms had been seized during police operations, including an AR-15 rifle which had been bought online from overseas.
In March this year police raided 22 locations and arrested 17 people, seizing about 2.6 tonnes of explosives related to three bomb plots at public facilities, including the Lo Wu railway station and Shenzhen Bay control point.
The Secretary for Security said the materials were “extremely alarming” in destructive power and quantity, adding the cases were “like overseas terrorist activities”. Under the terror ordinance the government can qualify terrorist or terrorist associate, and freeze the assets involved in terrorism activities.
Various lawmaker proximity to the rioters decried the government’s position raising question about the association with the accused.
“Sowing discourse, targeting police, rendering the government helpless and undermining the stability of society are elements of terrorism”, said a political observer of the University of Florida in a telephone interview. “Many elements of terrorism include weapons, the act of terror, the victims and so forth, but terrorism is much broader”, she added.
“To terrorize includes economic destabilization, collapse of social order, or causing the deliberate or systematic collapse of society or its infrastructure. For example, causing the collapse of an economy is a form of terrorism.” She added plenty of extremist writing and public statements supports the law.
So is the transnational nature of the Black Block. Evidence appears in the public domain showing American Black Bloc extremists in support of the riots in Hong Kong.