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Hong Kong police arrest 9 in plot to bomb courts, train stations

Hong Kong police arrest 9 in plot to bomb courts, train stations
A police officer stands next to seized evidence during a press conference on Tuesday at the police headquarters in Hong Kong. Photo by Jerome Favre/EPA-EFE

July 6 (UPI) -- Hong Kong authorities said on Tuesday they have arrested nine people, six of them students, after discovering a bomb-making lab in a guest house.

Police said the students are accused of aiding a plan to carry out terrorist attacks in the city that has been the center of crackdowns by the Chinese central government on pro-democracy dissidents over the past year.

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Officials say a political group called Returning Valiant was plotting to bomb key transport infrastructure and court buildings.

Police National Security Senior Lt. Steve Li said five males and four females were involved in the plot. Their ages range from 15 to 39.

Li said Returning Valiant members, who'd been under investigation before the arrests, had pledged to "continue the flames of revolution" in fighting for Hong Kong independence, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

Returning Valiant members were among five people arrested in May under a new national security law for "subverting state power."

Claims of protecting national security were used last month by Hong Kong authorities in raiding the city's pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. Five people, ages 47 to 63 were taken into custody on suspicion of "collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security."

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The United States has placed sanctions on Chinese officials in connection to the new national security law. Pro-democracy supporters said the law has deteriorated the freedoms in Hong Kong, which was a British colony until 1997.

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