Hong Kong police said they defused two homemade nail bombs discovered in the grounds of a school, and are investigating whether the devices were linked to political unrest in the city.
Bomb disposal officers rushed to Wah Yan College in Wanchai district after a janitor noticed the devices, police said.
“The bombs were complete, fully functional and ready to be used,” senior bomb disposal officer Alick McWhirter told reporters Monday night.
McWhirter said the two devices contained a total of 10 kilograms of high explosives and that the remote control bombs were designed to be set off using a mobile phone.
Nails had been added to the bombs, which used a homemade ammonium nitrate-based explosive, to increase their destructiveness.
“Both of these devices have only one function, to kill and to maim people,” McWhirter said.
Police said they believed the college was not the target for the bomb maker and that the devices were likely being hidden there for later use.
The discovery comes with Hong Kong engulfed by six months of sometimes violent protests – although the last three weeks have seen a significant drop-off in clashes and a massive largely peaceful march on Sunday.
Millions have marched in protests fueled by years of growing fears that authoritarian China is stamping out the city’s liberties.
Over the last six months, hardline protesters have used bricks, petrol bombs and even bows and arrows in their weekly confrontations with police who have fired nearly 16,000 rounds of tear gas and 10,000 rubber bullets.
Three protesters have been shot with live rounds, all have survived their injuries.