Hong Kong police say they have found a cache of airguns and other weapons and are investigating whether it is linked to Sunday’s legislative polls.

Officers told a press conference on Tuesday that 201 airguns, over 6,000 lead pellets and axes and knives were seized after police raided 11 homes and two warehouses.

Police press conference on December 14, 2021. Photo: Hong Kong Police Force via Facebook

Nine men and one woman, aged between 21 and 46, were arrested and face charges including possession of arms without a licence and the unlicensed import or export of strategic commodities. Police said their intelligence suggested that some of them had “actively participated” in the 2019 protests and unrest.

Among the weapons confiscated were 11 high-pressure airguns that Senior Inspector Lucas Lam said were so powerful that they could be life-threatening.

Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

“Although these types of guns do not have live ammunition… their power is comparable to real guns,” he said.

‘Main direction of investigation’

The Legislative Council elections will be the first such polls since Beijing ordered a sweeping overhaul that effectively bars members of the opposition from running.

All candidates who are contesting were subjected to a multilayer vetting mechanism led by government officials to ensure that they are “patriots.”

Publicity materials promoting the Legislative Council election scheduled on December 19, 2021. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Democrats and some local election experts have criticised the revamp, calling it a “huge regression in democracy.” Most major pro-democracy figures remain behind bars or in self-exile abroad, or have quit politics altogether.

Whether there is a link to the polls, police said, is “one of the main directions of investigation.”

Threatening letter

Separately, Chief Executive Carrie Lam was mailed a threatening letter containing a razor blade on Monday morning. The blade measured 4 cm by 2.5 cm, according to RTHK. The contents of the note are not known.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a press conference after delivering her 2021 Policy Address. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The Chief Executive’s Office condemned the intimidating act in a statement and said the incident had been reported to police.

“[T]he Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will take the case seriously and spare no effort in bringing the culprit to justice to safeguard the safety of public officers and public peace,” a spokesperson said.

Hillary Leung

Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.