Hong Kong police disarm two radio-controlled 10kg nail-filled bombs found at school ground

The two IEDs were found on Monday evening by a janitor working for the Wah Yan College. The Hong Kong police were called and safely disposed of the bombs, representatives of the force told the media.

According to Alick McWhirter, the head of the bomb unit, the bombs contained a high explosive compound called hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD) as initiators and ammonium nitrate for additional power. Nails were added to the devices to make them more lethal. One of the bombs could hurt people as far as 100 meters away, while the other one had half that range, the expert estimated.

“These devices had only one function – to kill and maim people,” McWhirter said during a late-night briefing.

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The high explosive used in the bomb is a restricted product and cannot be bought by a regular person. McWhirter believes it was home-made. The IEDs were meant to be triggered with a mobile phone call.

The Wah Yan College said the place where the bombs were discovered could be easily accessed by the public. An assistant supervisor at the school said the staff had “not found any evidence pointing at teachers or students responsible for placing or making the bomb”, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Hong Kong police said they have not immediately identified who left the powerful bombs near the school, but assured they were fully functional. The investigators will be comparing the IEDs with another one, which detonated in mid-October in an apparent attack on a police vehicle, and reportedly had a similar design.

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That incident happened in Mong Kok neighborhood during one of the violent protests gripping the Chinese autonomous city. The bomb was hidden in a flower pot and went off after a police patrol parked their car nearby. Luckily that device didn’t hurt anyone. The police said at the time the incident marked a clear escalation of violence in Hong Kong, and added that IEDs were a tool used by terrorists around the world.

“We are worried that this was only an experiment, as the damage caused this time was small. If you want to target a police van, you wouldn’t have caused just a loud bang. They may use a larger quantity of the explosives next time,” a bomb disposal official commented on the explosion.

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