Musician charged after Hong Kong police seize explosives and weapons

Raid on storage unit in Hung Hom uncovers 10kg of nitrate and sulphur, five time-delay fuses, 35 tubes filled with nails and 30 sticks of fireworks, among other items.

A member of one of Hong Kong’s leading symphony orchestras has been charged with possessing explosives after a police raid on a storage unit uncovered a trove of chemicals used to make bombs, time-delay fuses and dozens of plastic tubes packed with nails.

While police on Sunday would only identify the suspect as a 31-year-old man who rented the space in Hung Hom, a source told the Post he was a trumpet player with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Acting on an anonymous tip-off, officers swooped on the storage facility located inside a factory building on Hok Yuen Street East on Friday night. They discovered 10kg of nitrate and sulphur, five time-delay fuses, 35 tubes filled with nails and 30 sticks of fireworks. They also found three knives, two axes and a baseball bat.

A bag of substances believed to be intended for bomb-making.

A preliminary investigation suggested the seized chemicals and weapons had been kept at the storage facility for several months at least, according to the source.

The force said that officers would continue to investigate the source of the explosive materials, their possible use and why the factory building was chosen as the location to store them.

The suspect was charged with one count of an “attempt to cause explosion, or making or keeping explosive with intent to endanger life or property” and one count of possession of an offensive weapon. He is expected to appear at Kowloon City Court on Monday.

According to the Crimes Ordinance, anyone who makes an explosive substance, whether or not with knowledge of its intended use, or who knowingly possesses such substances can be jailed for up to 14 years.

The source identified the suspect as an award-winning trumpet player with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta. According to the group’s website, the suspect had also worked with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, City Chamber Orchestra and Hong Kong String Orchestra.

He obtained a bachelor’s degree from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and his master’s at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States after winning a scholarship provided by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund.

He is also the recipient of several other scholarships, including ones from the Y.S. Liu Foundation and SAR Philharmonic. In 2008, he won first runner-up in the “Young Musician of the Year” competition presented by the Tom Lee Music Foundation.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Sinfonietta could not be reached for comment.

In May, police arrested a 31-year-old computer technician, his 60-year-old father and 63-year-old mother after a raid that uncovered 20kg of explosive material in their public housing flat at Tung Tau Estate in Wong Tai Sin. A subsequent search of a storage facility in San Po Kong found at least 10kg of chemicals that could be used to make bombs.