HONG KONG, March 20 (Xinhua) -- A counter-terrorism exercise simulating a bomb attack plotted by extremists at a boundary control point was held on Friday in Hong Kong, participated by over 250 officers from different departments of the government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
The exercise, Codenamed "CATCHMOUNT" and held at the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point, simulated an operation against extremists who plotted a bomb attack at a boundary control point in Hong Kong using improvised explosive devices (IED).
The exercise comprised two sessions. The first session was staged at the public transport interchange at the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point. A man detonated a radio-controlled bomb in a rubbish bin, resulting in multiple casualties. The area was then cordoned off for rescue and investigation by officers from the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) and Fire Services Department (FSD) who sped to the scene.
Following the bomb detonation, the second scene showcased officers of Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) and Immigration Department (ImmD) discovered another suspicious object at the departure hall. Evacuation was immediately conducted in an orderly and safe manner. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau officers of the HKPF were called to the scene to handle the suspicious object.
The Hong Kong police said they aimed to highlight through this exercise how extreme violence posed serious threat to the public safety and to heighten public vigilance and awareness of suspicious objects.
The exercise also served to enhance the coordination and response capabilities between police units and other member departments of the HKSAR government's Inter-departmental Counter Terrorism Unit (ICTU) for better protecting the lives and property of the public.
Speaking to the media prior to the exercise, Police Senior Superintendent of the ICTU Chu Man-lung said that there were a number of recent cases involving IEDs in Hong Kong. In one of the cases, a radio-controlled IED was placed at a crowded location, which would have resulted in severe casualties should there be an explosion.
The behavior of these violent extremists was very close to terrorist attacks commonly seen in other countries, Chu pointed out, adding that members of the public should stay vigilant and beware of an emerging "homegrown terrorism" threat.
Between December 2019 to February 2020, the Hong Kong police received a total of 78 explosives cases and 26 bomb hoaxes cases, some of which involving high explosive frequently used by terrorists overseas, and detected illegal explosive labs trying to make even more powerful bombs.