Wong Wai-yin, one of 12 Hong Kongers who tried to escape to Taiwan by speedboat in 2020 but was caught by China’s coast guard, was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to making explosives.
The 30-year-old mechanic appeared before District Court Judge Frankie Yiu on Thursday. He was accused of possessing tools and materials that can be used to make explosives, including dinitrotoluene (DNT), 2.8 kilograms of sulfur, 418 millimeters of concentrated nitric acid, 690 millimeters of sulfuric acid, and 270 millimeters of hydrogen peroxide.
Authorities found the explosive material containing DNT in the backyard of his home in Sha Tau Kok, located in rural New Territories, but no detonator was discovered. Experts who blew up the material in a controlled explosion said it was not in good condition and did not cause much damage.
According to local media, Wong had admitted to police that he spent a few weeks between December 2019 and January 2020 making explosives. He said that he made the explosives just for fun and that he had scrapped a plan to test the material on a mountain because he thought it was inappropriate.
He said he buried the explosives because he didn’t know what else to do with the material.
a serious offense
Judge Yiu described the crime as very serious because it was committed during the protest movement, local media reported. He said the consequences could have been dire if other people had gotten hold of the explosives.
But the judge described the case as minor compared to other similar crimes because the explosives were buried in the backyard and there was no detonator. Yiu set the starting point of the sentence at two and a half years, but gave Wong a 10-month discount due to his guilty plea.
Twelve activists, who were facing criminal charges in Hong Kong related to the anti-extradition law protests, were arrested by the Chinese coast guard on August 23, 2020 while fleeing to Taiwan by speedboat. In December 2020, ten of the escapees were jailed for between seven months and three years in connection with the illegal border crossing, while two minors were returned to Hong Kong, where they could face additional charges. In total, another 20 people were arrested by the Hong Kong police for allegedly aiding the escape.