Pro-independence Hong Kong protester jailed for 12 years

Hong Kong, Apr 23 (EFE).- A Hong Kong court Friday sent a pro-independence group member to 12 years in prison for possessing explosives, the heaviest sentence handed down in connection with the 2019 pro-democracy protests.

Louis Lo, 29, a member of the now-disbanded Hong Kong National Front, had previously pleaded guilty to keeping 1 kg of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) explosive with intent to endanger life or property.

Police seized the explosives from an industrial building in the old town of Tsuen Wan on July 19, 2019.

The haul was recovered a month after the eruption of widespread anti-government protests, sparked by a controversial bill on extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China.

Police claimed to have recovered petrol bombs, slingshots, secessionist pamphlets, and a book on Hong Kong independence found at Lo’s home.

Judge Andrew Chan of the city’s High Court said evidence indicated that Lo was the “mastermind behind the operation” and intended to subvert the Hong Kong government.

The judge said the convict also intended to undermine the regional stability and cause “fear and terror among people in society.”

Chan said Lo represented a risk graver than posed by a notorious robber who was caught with 2 kg of TNT explosives and sentenced to 18 years in prison in 1997.

The authorities in the Chinese-ruled Special Administrative Region arrested over 10,000 people during months-long 2019 protest demonstrations.

The pro-democracy protest movement rocked the otherwise peaceful Asian financial hub.

Many of the arrested are young. The authorities have charged over 2,500 of them.

The movement ended in January 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.


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