In protest raids, Hong Kong police discover pistol and swords

Senior superintendent Lee Kwai-Wa believes the group plans to use weapons to incite chaos and impugn police. (AP pic)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong police on Sunday said they conducted raids ahead of a major pro-democracy rally and found weapons including a pistol and ammunition, the first firearm seizure linked to the protests.

The city is bracing itself for another huge march on Sunday afternoon as protesters try to keep pressure on the city’s pro-Beijing leadership as they push for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability.

Monday marks the six month anniversary of the movement which has become increasingly violent as Beijing refuses concessions.

Hours before the march was due to start, police displayed weapons they said had been found during overnight raids at eleven locations.

The display included a Glock semi-automatic pistol with 105 rounds, a samurai sword, nine extendable batons, bottles of pepper spray and knives.

11 people were arrested, police added.

“We believe the group planned to use the weapons to incite chaos during the march later today and impugn the police,” senior superintendent Lee Kwai-Wa, from the city’s organised crime bureau, told reporters.

Lee said the raids were part of an intelligence-led operation tracking a group of protesters who threw petrol bombs at a police station in the district of Mongkok on 20 Oct.