A former member of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Front has been jailed for 12 years after he admitted possessing explosives in an industrial unit in Tsuen Wan in 2019.

Local media reported on Friday that Louis Lo, 29, was handed the lengthy jail term by High Court Justice Andrew Chan after the activist pleaded guilty to one count of keeping explosives with an intent to endanger life or property.

High court
File photo: Selina Cheng/HKFP.

Lo was a member of the localist group, Hong Kong National Front, which announced it was winding down its local operations hours before Beijing passed a sweeping national security law on June 30 last year. The group said at the time that they would continue to operate from abroad.

According to local media, Lo was arrested on July 19, 2019 after police found around one kilogram of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and raw materials for making the highly explosive chemical in an industrial unit in Tsuen Wan. Officers also found ten petrol bombs and some banners featuring the slogan “Hong Kong independence” at the same location.

Police later found pro-independence leaflets and books at Lo’s home, as well as information about explosives and terrorists on his mobile phone.

Hong Kong Independence protest march five demands 1 July 2020 causeway bay
Hong Kong independence flags in a protest. Photo: KH/United Social Press.

Delivering sentence, Chan said the activist had targeted the Hong Kong government with the aim of subverting its power and causing panic in society. Media reports also quoted the judge as comparing Lo’s case to that of the “King of Thieves” Yip Kai-foon, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison for possessing another type of explosive in the 1990s, among many other crimes.

Chan said that, while the amount of explosives Lo possessed was less than Yip, the case had graver potential danger to the public and police, according to local media reports. Chan set 18 years as the starting point for Lo’s sentencing, and gave him a one-third reduction for his guilty plea.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.