SHANGHAI: Police were busy Friday trying to dispel a widespread rumor that a bomb had been found in a roadside garden in the city's Luwan district.
Officers called upon to deal with the mystery object said it was "a shoebox containing sand", but witnesses later claimed to have heard "an explosive sound, like that of fireworks" and talked about having seen wires attached to a cell phone.
"Many people heard that sound, though it was not very loud," said a man surnamed Huang, who lives near the intersection of Changle Road and South Shaanxi Road, where the object was found.
A local cleaner, surnamed Zhu, said he found the object while working in the garden before 7 am and raised the alarm. Zhu said he had seen "a cellphone tied up with wires as thick as thumbs".
Local portal eastday.com reported that Zhu believed the device was a detonator.
The incident in the downtown neighborhood, which is a mix of apartments and boutique stores, led to heavy congestion for more than an hour.
Late last month, Shanghai's police force launched a series of raids aimed at cracking down on explosives and illegal guns.
The operations were centered on public entertainment places and high-crime areas including motels, KTVs, and bars known for illegal activity. In all, 223 suspects were captured.
Also in Shanghai, on May 22, a shooting between two gangs that was connected to the repayment of a debt, left two people dead and two others injured in the city's Putuo district. Police detained 11 people suspected of involvement in the incident.