FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Recent Explosion At A Petrochemical Plant In Malaysia?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on TikTok purportedly shows an explosion at a chemical factory in Malaysia.

@sarlahi_king1 #titanchemical🔥#fire_blast🔥 #johorbahrumalaysia🇲🇾 #pasir_gudang #foryoupage #tiktokmalaysia ♬ original sound – 𝑴𝑶𝑯𝑨𝑵__❤__𝑲𝑼𝑺𝑴𝑰𝑻𝑨

Verdict: False

The video shows a 2015 explosion at a chemical factory in China, not Malaysia.

Fact Check:

A fire broke out at a petrochemical plant Feb. 24 at the Tanjung Langsat Industrial Complex in Johor, Malaysia, according to the New Straits Times. A Feb. 24 video shared on TikTok, which has garnered over 107,000 likes, claims to show an explosion emanating from the plant. “Today Malaysia, Johor Baru Pasir Gudang Titan Chemical Factory,” text in the video reads.

The video predates the Malaysian chemical plant fire and did not take place in the country. A reverse image search revealed the video first appeared on Newsflare, a video licensing platform, in July 2015 titled “Massive explosion at petrochemical plant in China.” The video’s caption reports the explosion occurred in China’s Shandong Province and was the result of a gas leak during a product transfer.

The video was also shared by the Chinese news outlet CCTV on the same date. “The storage tank of Shandong Rizhao No.1 Petrochemical Company caught fire and exploded,” reads a translated version of the video’s description. (RELATED: Did CNN Air A 7-Year-Old Image Of An Explosion In Its Coverage Of The War In Ukraine?)

Collections of photos captured during the Shandong fire can be seen in articles published by China Daily and The Guardian, while videos of the Malaysia explosion were recently published by the New Straits Times and Free Malaysia Today.

This is not the first time a video of a Chinese petrochemical explosion has been miscaptioned. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video that claimed to show an explosion at a Ukraine warehouse but actually showed another explosion at a chemical warehouse in China in 2015.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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