Five men accused in Hong Kong court over explosives plot

Vastavam web: Five men, accused of making explosives before a contentious vote on political reforms in 2015, appeared in a Hong Kong court today in a case that triggered concern about the radicalisation of protesters.The men were arrested at a time of heightened political tensions in Hong Kong, following the failure of mass ‘Umbrella Movement’ rallies to win democratic reform for the semi- autonomous city in protests that were an unprecedented rebuke to China.The court today heard how one of the five accused had joined an anti-government group which had discussed causing “chaos” around the vote.
Local media have previously reported that the group advocated independence for Hong Kong.Calls for self-determination or even a full split from China grew out of the Umbrella Movement’s failure to win concessions through largely peaceful protests.At the first full day of the trial, the prosecution said they had tried to make explosives at an abandoned graffiti- covered television studio in the northeastern district of Sai Kung.
Police had seen flashes and smoke coming out of the building, and during a raid, discovered acid, hydrogen peroxide and acetone, prosecutor Jonathan Man Tak-ho told the jury.”He had been invited to join an anti-government organisation called the National Independent Party” and he did join and meet with members, said Man, citing a recorded interview with police.
Its members “discussed creating chaos before or after voting”, Man told the court, referring to the parliamentary vote on the reform package.Police also found goggles, gloves, electronic scales, laptops containing formulas and browsing histories related to mixing chemicals for explosives, Man said.