Hong Kong / China (31/12). Hong Kong police are searching for six people believed to have lit a fire outside a government office in Kowloon early on Tuesday morning.

Officers seized shards of glass and plastic and glass bottles containing an unknown liquid, suspecting petrol bombs were thrown. The shutters of Lai Chi Kok government offices were blackened.

Six people dressed in black clothing and wearing hoods were believed to be involved in the case.

No one was injured in the incident and no arrests had been made, according to a statement released by police around 4am. Police were uncertain whether this case was related to the ongoing anti-government protests in Hong Kong, which have gripped the city for more than six months, during which petrol bombs have frequently been thrown.

The mass demonstrations were triggered by the now-withdrawn extradition bill that could have led to fugitives being sent to face trial in mainland China, among other jurisdictions with which Hong Kong had no existing agreement.

In a night of violence on October 20, protesters threw more than 100 petrol bombs and damaged 11 MTR station entrances.

An 18-year-old student arrested for possessing explosive substances and smoke bombs on Christmas Eve was denied bail by a Hong Kong court on Thursday.

Kwong Wai-pong was among five people charged in different cases at Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Court on Boxing Day, arrested for various offences related to anti-government protests.

In the last two days, protesters have taken to streets and shopping malls across Hong Kong to stage demonstrations. Riot police have used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse crowds.

Prosecutors said police stopped Kwong outside a Kwun Tong storage facility on December 24. Inside, they said, they found highly flammable nitrocellulose, along with 10 smoke bombs, more than 30 types of chemical and some protest gear.

He was charged with one count of possessing an explosive substance and another of possessing an offensive weapon fit for unlawful purposes.

Acting principal magistrate Don So Man-lung refused to grant bail to Kwong, who was yet to enter a plea.

Defending Kwong, barrister Douglas Kwok King-hing said his client had planned to use the chemicals to make household detergent and practise magic tricks.

So remanded Kwong in custody and adjourned the case for forensic examinations until April 9, when the defendant will attend Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Court.

At the same court, four others faced charges of assaulting or resisting officers at protests on or around Christmas Eve.

Decorator Suen Ka-wai, 26, a property agent Ho Hiu-ming, 25, and student Lo Chun-sing, 20, were accused of attacking police at Harbour City mall in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The trio faced separately one count of assaulting officers, while Lo, who remained in hospital on Thursday, was charged with one further count of resisting an officer.

Construction worker Wong Ming-hung, 48, was charged with assaulting an officer in the same mall in the early hours of Christmas Day.

On Thursday, So remanded Suen and Ho in jail custody, but released Wong. He adjourned their cases to January 24, to be heard at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court.