Raid on shop suspected of making weapons

Eight people grabbed in a Sai Ying Pun hardware shop frequented by protesters remained in custody last night after being arrested for possession of offensive weapons. Police seized two bottles of corrosive drain cleanser, 20 sprayers, eight cans of oil paint, 200 baseballs, baseball...

Cindy Wan

Monday, September 02, 2019

Eight people grabbed in a Sai Ying Pun hardware shop frequented by protesters remained in custody last night after being arrested for possession of offensive weapons.

Police seized two bottles of corrosive drain cleanser, 20 sprayers, eight cans of oil paint, 200 baseballs, baseball launchers, eight axes and 12 fake press cards at the makeshift shop on Third Street at 3pm on Saturday.

About 50 officers swooped on the shop, whose name in Chinese means "National Calamity Hardware," and arrested six men and two women aged 20 to 33 who help out in the shop.

One was the boss while others included a bank staffer, a makeup artist, a nurse and students.

Three of the fake press cards carried names and photos of some of those arrested.

Ng Kei-chun, a chief inspector of Western District's police investigation team, said: "Some radical demonstrators have used corrosive liquid in protests" and "it is reasonable to believe the shop owner was making weapons."

Despite the arrests on Saturday, the shop was open from 2pm to 6pm yesterday.

That saw the police returning, but there were no more arrests.

The shop was started by a group of localist activists on August 3. They have operated the business in flashmob style by renting premises on short-term deals near potential protest zones to sell helmets, goggles and other gear.

In a Facebook statement, the operators said: "We stand with the protesters to fight against the oppressive regime until the last moment."

Also arrested on Saturday near Marsh Road and Hennessy Road in Wan Chai was social worker Jackie Chan Hung-sau.

The Hong Kong Social Worker's General Union said Chan was standing far from the protesters and was trying to ease tension.

Others arrested include Andy Chui Chi-kin, an Eastern District councillor. He was accused of being disorderly in a public place amid Chai Wan residents brawling with MTR staff over a suspension of service. His arrest prompted residents to protest at Chai Wan police station until tear gas was used on the crowd.

And Sam Yip Kam-lung, an assistant to lawmaker Au Nok-hin, was arrested for allegedly assaulting police officers and criminal damage at 11am yesterday. That involved him scolding officers outside Western police station.