Video Shows PDRM Officer Stomping On Lanterns To Stop Them From Flying On Mid-Autumn Fest

The incident took place at Sibu, Sarawak, last Saturday, 10 September.

Cover image via 诗巫吹水站 (Facebook)

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Editor's Note: The story has been updated to reflect the correct name of the state. We apologise for the error.

A video showing a police officer stomping on lanterns on a field in Sibu, Sarawak, on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, 10 September, has gone viral on Facebook

In the 24-second video, an officer wearing a Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) vest can be seen stepping on a Kongming lantern, also known as sky lanterns, until the fire at its centre is extinguished.

The officer then approaches another group of people before stomping on another Kongming lantern to put out the fire.

It is understood that those who release Kongming lanterns can be charged under two provisions under the law

China Press reported that offenders could be charged under Section 285 of the Penal Code and Section 5 of the Explosives Act 1957, which carry a maximum sentence of six months and five years in jail, respectively.

Following the incident, the Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) explained that releasing sky lanterns threatens the safety of aviation and is a fire hazard

SRDC chairman Sempurai Petrus Ngelai said the lanterns can pose a safety hazard if they land on buildings or other flammable substances, such as dry grass, reported The Borneo Post.

"Sky lanterns can pose a fire hazard if they fall on the rooftop and can also pose a danger to aircrafts if they fly along the route to the airport," he said.

"It is safer to carry a lantern instead."

Kuching South mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng also made a similar statement.

Citing news reports, The Borneo Post noted that in 2003, thousands of sky lanterns were released in Penang during a Chinese New Year celebration, disrupting air traffic at the Penang International Airport.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Alliance/DPA via DW

Kongming lanterns are small hot air balloons made of paper with an opening at the bottom where a small fire is suspended.

Politician and military commander Zhuge Liang, also known as Kongming, was said to be the inventor of sky lanterns during the Three Kingdoms period, according to China Light Festival.

While lanterns are symbols of hope and celebration in Chinese culture, he was said to have modified the lanterns to make them float in the sky to carry messages that called for military reinforcement.

These days, sky lanterns are generally released on the 15th day of Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival, among other festivals. People write their wishes on the surface of the lanterns before releasing them into the sky with the hope that they will make their dreams come true.

The video of a PDRM officer extinguishing the sky lanterns can be found below:

During the late Yuan Dynasty, mooncakes were said to be used to hide messages for the insurrectionary armies:

Meanwhile, here is a breakdown of the calories of different mooncakes: