Editorial:Terrorist attack plan exposed by HK police

【明報專訊】The stabbing of a police officer on July 1 sent shock waves across society. While its reverberations have yet to subside, another incident has happened, as the police claimed yesterday (July 6) that they had exposed a ''bomb attack conspiracy'' involving a violent group that supports Hong Kong's independence. The police arrested nine people including, most shockingly, six secondary school students.

According to information about the case from the police, the terrorist attack had an organised and large-scale plan. There was an elaborate division of labour, with some members tasked with purchasing materials, some with making bombs and some with handling funds. During the arrest operation, the police seized not only laboratory tools, equipment for manufacturing TATP explosives and a small quantity of explosives, but also a highly specific guide for the attack. The targets of the attack included public facilities such as cross-harbour tunnels, railways and court buildings. The members of the operation had conducted on-site filming and surveying of two court buildings. As for the methods of the planned attack, options such as placing bombs in rubbish bins and cars were all considered. There were clear instructions for every step, including the escape route.

A close examination of the details of the case gives us some food for thought. Firstly, according to the police, necessary funds were obtained for the terrorist attack plan. The action guide shows that the suspect attempted to act in early July, meaning that the attack would have been imminent if the plan had been implemented smoothly and the police had failed to detect it in time. Citizens can no longer assume that terrorist activities will never happen in Hong Kong. Secondly, the people who planned the attacks were wicked. The court is a symbol of the rule of law, while cross-harbour tunnels and railways are important transportation infrastructure in Hong Kong used by large numbers of citizens every day. These attack targets reflect that not only did those who hatched the attacks openly challenge the rule of law, but they also paid absolutely no regard to whether innocent civilians would be harmed. Thirdly, from conception and the division of labour to deployment and execution, the entire attack plan was so precise that it could not have been conceived by a secondary school student. The six students arrested so far are just pawns used by others.

The terrorist attack conspiracy this time is related to a pro-independence organisation known as ''Returning Valiant''. Since the National Security Law for Hong Kong was implemented, pro-independence organisations have disbanded one after another. ''Returning Valiant'' became known to the public only this year. First, early this year, they set up booths on the street and discussed the history of armed revolutions in various places. They were ticketed for breaching social distancing rules. In May, a secondary school in Tseung Kwan O was breached, with some chemicals in the laboratory suspected to be the target of the burglary. The burglary was exposed by a security guard. Several people were arrested, some of whom claimed to be members of ''Returning Valiant''.

The organisation was still unheard of six months ago. On the surface, it was made up largely of students, but it was able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to plan terrorist attacks. The adult arrested was a communications officer in a university, and he was tasked with handling funds for the attack. Not a high-earner, he does not appear to be the real sponsor of the attack, while other people such as secondary school staff and taxi drivers also seem to be merely people pushed onto the frontline. It is necessary to thoroughly investigate the true nature of ''Returning Valiant'' and whether other forces were involved in the terrorist attack plot.

To root out the problem and prevent students from taking the wrong path of violence, it is necessary for parents, schools, the government and various sectors in society to make an effort to wipe out radicalisation.

明報社評 2021.07.07:利用中學生犯事可鄙 去極端化各方皆有責







■/ Glossary 生字 /

conspiracy /kənˈspɪrəsi/

a secret plan by a group of people to do sth harmful or illegal

hatch /hætʃ/

to create a plan or an idea, esp. in secret

pawn /pɔːn/

a person or group whose actions are controlled by more powerful people


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