On Wednesday, April 22, Security Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu warned that the city was facing an increasing risk of "home-grown terrorism" following police reports of bombing attempts and discovered explosive materials. The most recent incident involved an explosive device mailed to the Hong Kong police headquarters on Monday, April 20, which was safely dealt with by an explosive ordinance disposal team.
This announcement comes amid calls by the People's Republic of China's Liaison office to enact sweeping national security legislation to combat terrorism, unrest, and the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under article 23 of Hong Kong's Basic Law, essentially the territory's constitution, Hong Kong must enact national security legislation to deal with treason, secession, sedition, and subversion. Previous efforts to enact such laws, however, failed in 2003 amid mass protests.
Further protests and bombings are possible over the near term.
Demonstrations have been held throughout Hong Kong since June 2019 to protest a controversial extradition bill, which would have allowed authorities in Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. While the bill was withdrawn on September 4, mass protests continue to be organized to demand government reforms and police accountability over violence since the start of the demonstrations. Pro-democracy candidates won 389 of the 452 seats in the territory's district council elections on November 24. The pro-democracy movement victory and the high turnout (71 percent) for the vote suggest that the public continues to support protests. Over 7000 people have been arrested since the protests began.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, report suspicious objects and behavior to police, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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