Firebomb hurled at patrol van in early morning HK attack outside police headquarters

08-Jun-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong police are on high alert and have ordered officers to be extra vigilant at an anti-government mass rally planned for Sunday after a petrol bomb attack on its headquarters on Friday morning, with insiders describing it as a “declaration of war” against the city’s 30,000 law enforcers.

Top brass rushed back to the Wan Chai station after the pre-dawn attack, during which a man threw the firebomb at an Emergency Unit vehicle when officers found him acting suspiciously in front of the building and stopped to intercept him.

The Emergency Unit van was approaching the junction of Arsenal Street and Lockhart Road outside the station at about 3.30am when their colleagues noticed a black Mercedes-Benz parked at the intersection.

A man standing next to the vehicle turned around and threw a petrol bomb at the police car. The flaming bottle landed on the ground close by, blackening the left side of the vehicle. The man then fled in the Mercedes-Benz.

The attack left a scorch mark on the road. No one was injured and no arrest had been made so far.

Hours after the incident, officers from the Police Tactical Unit and Explosive Ordnance Disposal were still investigating the scene and collecting evidence.

A senior police insider said he had never seen such a provocation against the force in his 25 years of service, adding that he believed the headquarters was the target of this attack, before the man’s plan was foiled by officers.

This attacker has declared war against the 30,000-strong force. He wants to embarrass the force but he is not winning it

Police source

“If the Emergency Unit van had not passed by and intercepted the attacker, we believed he would have hurled the Molotov cocktail at the building,” the source said.

“I have never seen a person attacking a police station, not to say the police headquarters. This attacker has declared war against the 30,000-strong force. He wants to embarrass the force but he is not winning it.”

According to a 40-second dashboard camera footage from a passing car, a man with a cap and dressed in black was seen scouting out the area and heading towards the police headquarters. But he made a U-turn seconds before the police van appeared.

As the van came to a halt, the petrol bomb burst into flames just metres away on the ground next to it. A car that appeared to be the black Mercedes-Benz was then seen speeding off.

Superintendent Law Kwok-hoi of the force’s Hong Kong Island regional crime unit said police seriously condemned such violent acts and that officers were looking into the attacker’s motives.

“So far there is no evidence showing that the police van was particularly targeted. The man immediately hurled the bottle when the van showed up and intercepted him,” Law said, adding that authorities were also looking into whether the man had acted alone.

Law added that officers in the van had seen the man holding a lit glass bottle and standing by his car.

They slowed down in a bid to intercept him, and that was when he hurled the petrol bomb and fled.

Under pressure to explain why officers did not give chase, Law said they were not sure if there were more explosives around the vehicle.

He added that the car plate of the Mercedes-Benz was covered and investigations were under way to find out more details.

The case is now categorised as arson.

Lam chi-wai, chair of the Junior Police Officers’ Association, which represents two-thirds of the force, condemned the bold attack.

“It conveys an incorrect message to members of the public that police can be provoked. But I want to say that the force has all the power and capability to bring the man to justice,” Lam said, adding that he had never come across such a provocation against police in the past decade.

“We condemn all unlawful actions, not to mention such an apparent war declared against the police force. I hope members of the public will stay rational.”


Category: Hong Kong

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