Triad-linked 'Rat' charged after petrol-bomb attacks

Top News | Charlotte Luo 10 Jun 2019

A 24-year-old man has been charged with two counts of arson for throwing petrol bombs at a police vehicle outside the Wan Chai police headquarters and at the Happy Valley police station.

The suspect - nicknamed "the Rat" - will appear in Eastern Magistrates' Court today.

He was among four men with triad backgrounds arrested in connection with the Molotov cocktail attacks, which happened 12 hours apart on Friday.

After preliminary investigation, it is believed that the 24-year-old worked alone on the attack.

Three other men, aged between 22 and 60, were detained but later released on bail. Police are trying to figure out the motive - they believe the attack is connected to the triads - and whether other people were involved.

Fifty officers went on an anti-triad operation in Tsim Sha Tsui after midnight on Sunday, but made no arrests.

Police said the 24-year-old man had been charged in connection with the two incidents.

The first petrol bomb was thrown at a police vehicle at about 3.30am on Friday.

The second was thrown outside the Happy Valley police station at about 4pm.

Eyewitnesses said a man standing next to a black Mercedes-Benz vehicle with a covered plate threw a petrol bomb at an intercepting police van near the headquarters.

They saw broken glass at the scene and smelled petrol. No one was injured. The man fled by car.

The second petrol bomb was also thrown by a man in a black Mercedes-Benz while it passed by the Happy Valley station. The bottle hit a corner of the fence. Parts of the station wall and floor were blackened.

After checking surveillance footage, police said the suspect had been driving the black vehicle with covered plates on Sing Woo Road.

The footage also showed the suspect getting out of the car, throwing the petrol bomb, getting back into the vehicle and driving away down Sing Woo Crescent.

The Mercedes-Benz was later intercepted by police near King's Road in North Point.

The man got out of the car and ran into a nearby building. Police chased him and caught him on the 12th floor.

A source said the suspect has a triad background and an arson conviction.

Police arrested three other suspects after 6pm near a residential address in North Point to which the vehicle was registered.

The four suspects are believed to be friends, police said.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo Wai-chung has condemned the attacks, saying there is zero tolerance for those responsible.

Lo said arson is a serious crime and the maximum penalty is life in prison.

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