A citywide manhunt is under way for two black-clad men, following an early-morning firebomb attack at the entrance of a secondary school in Hong Kong on Friday.
Firefighters and paramedics were called to Lok Sin Tong Leung Chik Wai Memorial School at Cheung Hong Estate in Tsing Yi shortly before 1am when police received a report of fire from its security guard.
“The guard said he heard what appeared to be the noise of an explosion and then saw flames outside the school’s main entrance,” a police spokesman said.
Firefighters later doused the flames and no evacuation was needed. Police said no one was injured in the incident, but a part of the school’s wall and a flower bed were blackened in the blaze. Officers seized an empty glass bottle and several gas canisters at the scene. Police suspect the bottle was used to carry flammable solutions.
“Initial investigation showed two black-clad men were acting suspiciously at the scene and they fled after the blaze broke out,” the spokesman said.
The case has been classified as arson. Detectives from the Kwai Tsing criminal investigation unit are investigating. At about 10am, a team of officers went to the school to gather evidence. So far, no one has been arrested. A school employee said it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter as police were investigating.
Police handled 927 reports of arson across the city in 2019, a 219 per cent rise from 290 in 2018. There were 193 reports of arson in the first three months of this year, a 132 per cent rise from 83 over the same period last year.
The number of incidents causing criminal damage also increased by 54 per cent to 7,489 in 2019 from 4,860 in 2018. Between January and March this year, there were 1,655 reports of this offence, up 32.7 per cent from 1,247 over the same period last year.