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Crackdown on illegal firearms underway

By ZHANG YAN, LIU KUN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-13 04:04
Illegal firearms seized by police since 2018 are displayed before being destroyed in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Monday. [Photo by Ren Yong/For China Daily]

Police in 154 cities across the country have destroyed 107,000 illegal firearms, explosives and detonators that were confiscated starting last year, the Ministry of Public Security said on Monday.

On Monday morning, police in Wuhan, Hubei province, destroyed a number of air guns, shotguns and replica firearms as well as explosives and detonators by melting them in a steel plant furnace, which was stoked to reach temperatures of up to 1,600 C.

"Gun- and explosives-related cases endanger people's lives, public security and the country's long-term stability," Sun Lijun, vice-minister of public security, said on Monday.

"We will take effective measures to curb gun- and explosives-related crimes and eliminate major hidden dangers," he said.

In recent years, although such crimes have declined significantly due to police efforts, some cases have occurred sporadically around the country, Guo Lin, ministry spokeswoman, said earlier this year.

In order to tackle the issue, the ministry, together with 23 other authorities, set up a ministerial-level meeting mechanism under which they will share intelligence in a timely manner and take required action. In February 2018, they launched a two-year campaign to crack down on weapons crimes.

Last year, police nationwide dealt with more than 30,000 gun- and explosives-related cases, uncovered 416 criminal gangs and detained more than 40,000 suspects. From January to November last year, the number of such cases fell by around 28 percent, according to the ministry.

Since January, police across the country dealt with 16,000 such cases, uncovered 163 organized crime operations and detained 17,000 suspects. Between January and July, gun- and explosives-related crimes decreased by 20 percent compared with a year earlier, the ministry said.

One typical case occurred in February when police in Yichang, Hubei, uncovered a major online firearms and ammunition trafficking ring. Police detained 29 suspects and confiscated 41 illegal firearms and 1,300 rounds of ammunition, said Qian Xiongfei, deputy director at the ministry's public security management bureau.

"China is one of the countries with the lowest number of gun crimes and is one of the safest countries in the world," Sun said.

He said police will work closely with relevant authorities to set up a preventive mechanism to greatly curb such crimes at their source.

Contact the writers at zhangyan1@chinadaily.com.cn

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