During a raid Jan. 14 on an apartment in the Mong Kok neighborhood of Hong Kong, police found protest-related material such as masks, protective gear and, most notably, an 8-inch long pipe bomb filled with 40 grams of low explosive powder. During the raid, the bomb disposal team arrested 10 people — one of whom led police to another property in northern Hong Kong where they found an additional 100 grams of explosive material.
The Jan. 14 seizure, however, was not an isolated case. Indeed, it was at least the seventh incident involving explosive material since anti-government protests began in June 2019. The police’s close monitoring of bomb threats will continue to make it difficult for any single individual or group to make a truly sophisticated device. But that won’t keep increasingly desperate protesters from pursuing deadlier weapons as they try to turn up the heat on the city’s political leaders.
Explosive vs. Incendiary Devices
It is important to distinguish between the recently discovered explosive devices and the ubiquitous incendiary devices that Hong Kong protesters have been using against police for months. Gasoline bombs, commonly known as Molotov cocktails, are glass bottles filled with an accelerant such as gasoline that can be lit and thrown 30-50 feet and ignite upon impact. Protesters in Hong Kong have used gasoline bombs by the thousands, and the city’s police forces have equally seized them by the thousands.