On Feb 24, Hong Kong police announced the arrest of two male and three female suspects involved in the Jan 17 bomb threats in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The police indicated that the suspects were paid to commit the threat, and the purpose was to derail a Falun Gong conference, forcing guests to be evacuated from the BP International hotel, Kowloon where the conference was being held.
Though the bomb threat was later found to be a hoax, the Falun Gong conference had to be cancelled partway through as a result.
Currently, the police are tracing the mastermind and the motivation behind the incident. The Hong Kong police’s high-profile briefing of the case has drawn wide public attention.
On Feb 24 around 11pm, the police took a 34-year-old male to the crime scene to reconstruct the occurrence of the case. A large number of media arrived to pursue the details.
The 34-year old man is reported to be a transport worker and is suspected to be the one who left the suspicious objects on the scene. He confessed to the police that he received HK$5,000 (US$650) as a reward at the scene on that day. The remaining suspects were reported as unemployed or as salespersons.
The police revealed that the five suspects have triad backgrounds and were paid to commit the bomb hoax. The person who called and informed the police of the bomb threat is also an accomplice.
The case is still under investigation, and the police are not ruling out further arrests at this stage.
Police ordered to solve case
A source close to the senior police told Epoch Times that there have been complaints inside the police force about the handling of the bomb scare on the day of the incident, which has been described as “overreaction and disturbing the public.”
He said the police received a 999 emergency call warning them of a bomb on that day. They deployed a bomb squad wearing protective clothes and armor, along with a 300-kg bomb disposal robot.
This is very rare in the history of Hong Kong, but it turned out to be a hoax. The practice and procedure were against police guidelines.
“Unless it is a real bomb, they cannot disturb the top level. Now the police have made a big fuss over a fake bomb call. What are they going to do in the future?” the source stated.
According to the source, it is quite easy for the police to investigate the case, as the hotel is equipped with CCTV. At what time they solve the case depends on the attitude of the top level, the source said.
Now the police have made a high-profile disclosure of the suspects with triad backgrounds being paid to disrupt Falun Gong activities.
“The tone is relatively high, and they should be under pressure to solve the case. If there was too much noise about this, it would be hard to explain,” the source stated.
Joseph Yu-shek Cheng, former professor of political science at the City University of Hong Kong, said the police specifically mentioned that the arrested suspects were hired to derail Falun Gong activities, and this can be thought of as a small breakthrough.
Cheng hopes this breakthrough can bring the mastermind to justice. He said that in similar incidents that happened before, such as the attack on former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau, the police could not find the mastermind until now.
“Usually the police can arrest those directly involved, but have difficulty bringing the mastermind of the crime to justice,” Cheng said.
James Hon Lin-shan, spokesman of “League in Defense of Hong Kong’s Freedoms,” stated that the CCP is the black-hand behind the incident.
“Falun Gong has always been suppressed by the CCP and the Hong Kong SAR government,” he said. “The authorities are unfairly in favor of the [CCP-supported] Hong Kong Youth Care Association, and they discourage Falun Gong’s activities. We have been very clear about this. Recently it has become even worse. The police must find the real criminals and not let them escape.”
China issue expert Shi Cangshan believes that the current situation in Hong Kong is closely related to what is happening in Beijing.
The day after the hoax bomb scare, the mainland Chinese media Caixin.com, which reports in favor of current Party leader Xi Jinping, stated in an article that Zhou Yongkang’s Political and Legal Affairs system, Li Dongsheng served as the deputy leader of the 610 office, which has a certain degree of independence.
Shi noted that this was the first time mainland media had mentioned this issue in such a different way. He said the article purposely stressed that the Political and Legal Affairs system was run by Zhou Yongkang, and that there was “a certain degree of independence.”
He believes this indicates that Xi’s faction of the Party is cutting connections with the persecution of Falun Gong, which has been carried out by the faction of former Party leader Jiang Zemin.
Shi added that the governing body of the city of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province continues to face the shake-up, and several major cases are inextricably linked to HK.
The trial of the bribery case of Cao Jianliao, former Vice Mayor of Guangzhou, was held recently. Cao holds a Hong Kong passport and is alleged to be one of the financial supporters of the Hong Kong Youth Care Association. Cao has helped several real estate bosses flee to Hong Kong.
Mainland media reported that Wu Sha, former secretary of the Guangzhou City Political and Legal Committee, established a plainclothes “private army” of thousands.
Shi believes the Guangdong official circle has long been under the control of the Jiang faction, and Xi’s anti-corruption investigations against Jiang’s supporters may extend to Hong Kong. He thinks Xi’s hunt for “tigers” (corrupt officials) and efforts to clean out the Jiang faction might be carried out simultaneously in Hong Kong and Guangdong.
Cutting ties with Leung
On the same day of the arrest of the bomb scare suspects, Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah delivered the latest budget, which has been widely welcomed.
The budget referred to the restlessness among Hong Kong communities and the contradictory state that has generated a suffocated and powerless feeling. However, Tsang added, Hong Kong people have the ability and wisdom to resolve the current “man-made problems”.
This has been widely viewed as alluding to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. The announced budget reveals differing attitudes inside the government, either resolving the conflicts or intensifying the conflicts, such as the recent Mongkok incident in which protesters and police clashed.
Tsang is believed to be the hottest candidate for the next chief executive election. Xi offered to shake hands with him at an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank meeting last year.
Current affairs commentator Lai Chak-fun believes Tsang’s latest budget shows that even people inside the government think the government needs to bear the responsibility for the current social conflicts.
“At least John Tsang represents a different view inside the government. Not everyone is in the same shoes as Leung Chun-ying, who has been viewing things as fighting, exaggerating, mobs, and collaborating with foreign separatist forces,” Lai said.
Now, Lai believes, we can see that there are some healthy strengths inside the government, and they are trying to set things right.
Lai stated that the police are doing their normal and professional job to arrest the bomb scare suspects, “The police should never be a political tool” he said.
His view is that current Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung, unlike his predecessor Andy Tsang Wai-hung, does not follow Leung’s orders, “Well done, Stephen Lo. He would not dance with Leung’s flute” Lai said.
Good vs Evil Battle in Hong Kong—Falun Gong becomes the Touchstone
The Falun Gong issue has become the touchstone of the “one country, two systems” policy that defines HK’s relationship with China, and it is a benchmark that tests the consciences of those in power, law enforcement agents, and even the general public in HK.
As early as 2001, former Chief Secretary Anson Chan withstood the pressure from the CCP and agreed to lease a City Hall venue to Falun Gong to hold a conference.
In April that year, Chan suddenly announced early retirement for personal reasons. HK media reported that Jiang and the then Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa jointly forced her to resign, and one major reason was she agreed to lease the hall to Falun Gong, but she won the respect of Hong Kong people as “Hong Kong’s conscience”.
In 2003, the CCP pushed Article 23 agressively, which aimed to silence anti-CCP voices and Falun Gong in Hong Kong. Half a million Hong Kong people rallied to protest the “Evil’s Law,” dramatically causing the legislation to be shelved.
In 2005, Tung resigned due to “painful feet,” and Donald Tsang took over as Chief Executive. He followed in Tung’s footsteps in terms of suppressing Falun Gong including refusing the entry into HK of 500 Taiwanese Falun Gong practitioners.
In 2006 the printing factory of Hong Kong Epoch Times was attacked by thugs with suspected CCP backgrounds. The case has still not been solved.
In 2009, again during Tsang’s term, the U.S.-based classical Chinese dance company Shen Yun Performing Arts was blocked from performing in Hong Kong and a subsequent judicial review proved the Government was wrong.
Leung Chun-ying came to power in 2012. He follows the orders of the CCP’s Jiang faction and has been accused of creating chaos in HK and suppressing Falun Gong in the style of the CCP and gangsters.
Translated by Susan Wang. Written in English by Sally Appert.