9 February 2018

South Africa: Blast, Stench Lead to Arrests in Two Cape Town 'Abalone' Houses

Police uncovered two home-based abalone processing plants in Cape Town this week - one of which emerged after an almighty early-morning bang. By TONY CARNIE.

Just before 07:00 on Thursday, an explosion was heard in Hely Street, Maitland, Cape Town.

Police officers who rushed to the scene found extensive damage after a gas cylinder explosion at the back of the house - as well as a suspect with severe burns.

A spokesman for the SA Police Services in the Western Cape said two adjacent homes were also damaged in the blast.

"In the remains of what was the drying room were numerous shelves of abalone being dried, a gas cylinder and a fan. In another room there was a large number of containers filled with shucked abalone."

Several other items of equipment, including gas cylinders and burners, fans, scales and bags of salt were seized.

"One person was admitted to hospital with severe burn injuries and another one fled the scene. Two suspects were arrested, a 33-year-old male and a 50-year-old woman. The exact value of the abalone confiscated is yet to be determined; however it is valued at a substantial amount."

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