HONG KONG — One spud was a dud.
Caked in rust and dirt, a World Conflict I hand grenade was harvested with potatoes in France and shipped to a potato chip manufacturing facility in Hong Kong — till a machine discovered that one was not fairly just like the others.
The bomb, a German-made machine that was in an unstable situation, was defused by the Hong Kong police on the manufacturing facility on Saturday utilizing a “high-pressure water firing approach.”
“Because the grenade had not blown up on the time it was thrown, there was a right away hazard that wanted to be dealt with immediately,” Superintendent Wong Ho-hon stated.
At 2.2 kilos, with a 3-inch diameter, the grenade was in regards to the measurement of a potato, however was round 5 occasions as heavy.
Whereas it’s uncommon for a grenade to evade detection because it travels midway the world over, this was not the primary warfare relic to be unearthed someplace stunning. A farmer in Scotland discovered an unexploded World War II bomb final yr, and farmers in Belgium have discovered shells even in fields that have been plowed many times before.
“Many hand grenades are left behind throughout bombardments, when a complete trench is buried,” stated Kwong Chi-man, a navy historian and an assistant professor of historical past at Hong Kong Baptist College.
The chip manufacturing facility, Calbee 4 Seas Firm, didn’t reply to a request for remark.
“I don’t know what mechanical means the plant makes use of to scoop up the potatoes, however I think about they don’t routinely run magnet detectors by potatoes,” stated Franco David Macri, a senior analysis fellow within the historical past division at Hong Kong College.
Final yr, the Hong Kong police defused three 1,000-pound American-made bombs from World Conflict II. That they had been discovered inside months of each other at a development website in Wan Chai, a busy residential district the place 1000’s needed to be evacuated in a single day. One other American bomb discovered and detonated in Hong Kong in 2014 weighed one ton.
Many wartime relics are degraded over time by rust and water harm, however the explosive mechanism can typically stay intact
“It doesn’t matter how previous these items are,” Dr. Macri stated. “They’ll nonetheless be a menace.”