Coconut-shaped firecrackers like 'bombs' seized

GEORGE TOWN - Penang police have seized coconut-shaped firecrackers from China which can apparently damage walls and cause serious injuries - much like bombs.

This follows the arrest of a 31-year-old man seen on a closed-circuit television camera lighting up the firecrackers which damaged two cars at a bungalow in Jalan Changkat, Sungai Ara, here.

The suspect, who is believed to set off the firecrackers at 4.20am on Monday, was arrested on Tuesday.

"Eight coconut firecrackers were found in his home. They are believed to have been smuggled from China," Penang Police Chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi was quoted saying by Malaysia's Berita Harian.

He said the suspect had been in trouble with the law three times before, in incidents involving drugs, theft and poisons.

Harian Metro reported that the suspect was involved in an arson incident just two days earlier.

"The suspect is reportedly the same individual who burned a Volunteer Patrol Scheme post in the same vicinity on Sunday," Datuk Abdul Rahim was quoted saying by the paper.

The case will be investigated under Section 8 of the Explosives Act and Section 435 of the Penal Code involving mischief by fire and explosive substance.

The suspect faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted.

According to Berita Harian, the blast from the firecrackers is so powerful that it can damage walls and cause serious injuries and even death.

It reportedly contains sulphur wrapped with thick pieces of paper to make it more compact.

The firecrackers - with made-in-China labels - are widely sold in Thailand.

In Malaysia, they cost between RM80 (S$32) and RM100 on the black market.