Jun 26, 2015 | By Alec

Even people who know little to nothing about 3D printing can associate 3D printers will violence, as news stories about 3D printed guns are hot stuff. The conviction of Japanese owner of 3D printed guns Yoshitomo Imura is often brought up, while 3D printing technology has given 2nd amendment activists a new battleground in the United States. But an entirely new violent avenue has been found in Hong Kong, where a group of potential terrorists were apprehended earlier this week with a 3D printer and materials used in bomb making.

Now as you might recall, Hong Kong has seen its share of violence over the past year. Thousands and thousands turned up for violent protests between September and December 2014, which led to riots and more than a thousand arrests. All this happened in response impending electoral reforms that were widely perceived as anti-democratic. And with the bill back on the agenda, its hardly surprising that unrest has flared up again.

This time, a group of ten suspects in the age group of 21 to 58 were arrested with a considerable number of dangerous equipment in their possession: chemicals, air rifles, a 3D printer and three-peroxide triacetonediamine (TATP), which is similar to bomb-making techniques used by Middle East terrorists. At least one of the arrested men claimed to be a member of a local radical group, one chief of the police said in a press event. ‘There’s a possibility that this group of people want to do something in those locations. The investigation is still ongoing and for obvious reasons we can’t disclose too much,’ he concluded.

According to Fung YiSheng, Associate Professor at University of Hong Kong, the group could have been working on explosives, with the 3D printer being used to make precise plastic plates as prototypes for bomb components. He further suggested that the suspects got their ‘bomb recipes’ online, but Fung emphasized that the reliability and safety of these are doubtful and warns people not to try and replicate them.

The men were also in possession of these masks.

Police sources further revealed that this 3D printer is important evidence for the court process, because the printer is complete with print records, which can be used to reveal in what period of time these objects were printed, while also creating more data about the size and danger of the bomb they could have been trying to build. Due to the instability of the TATP - which is known to explode and harm people without warning – all  all the TATP the police found at suspects' residence was detonated at spot.

While the investigation is still ongoing, it does definitely open up an entire new pathway of speculation. Can 3D printers – even regular desktop FDM machines – be dangerous in the hands on the wrong people?



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Fawkes wrote at 6/28/2015 4:06:35 PM:

Oh Man, these masks are really dangerous!!!

Chaos wrote at 6/26/2015 11:25:39 PM:

Anything can be dangerous in the wrong hands, wither these people had the capacity to properly print a working gun AND bullets (or got them from someone else) is another question that wasn't talked about. Besides the bomb recipes and air-soft guns (may have used the guns as templates or recycled for parts), there is no mention of the actual role of the printer. The files on it were not made public, suppposedly they were trying to make something they had the materials to print with, while the printer looks good enough to do fine printing (ha) I don't think they had something good enough to develop a barrel to put in the airsoft unless they were willing to overcome the dimension restriction of the printer and made it in various parts... which further pushes the printer away from viable gun usuage (when looking at the pictures displayed) Although I have a suspicion of the last picture with the short-looking-gun that it was bought for reasons of dealing with the printers size restrictions. Lots of lessons to be learned for law enforcement everywhere.

giterdunn wrote at 6/26/2015 1:11:45 PM:

Really? Airsoft guns make people terrorists now? come on

Angry Bob wrote at 6/26/2015 11:03:43 AM:

YES.... You can drop a 3D printer off a building and kill someone.

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