On Thursday, six days after the raids, the companies were told they could collect their equipment, but the police are retaining electronic and paper records. The ostensible reason for the cyberbust was the operators' failure to pay a HK$700 (£56) licence fee, even though the authorities say it is uncertain whether they need to.
There are concerns that the authorities are playing to China's tune. The Internet has the potential to undermine the most draconian censorship, because anyone with a computer and phone line can tap into it to find alternative views of the world.
Non-conspiracy theorists say it is simply because SuperNet, which does hold a licence, has been complaining that it is being undercut. It charges customers HK$25 (£2) an hour for daytime usage and half that for off-peak hours, compared with HK$6-HK$8 charged by the newcomers.Reuse content