CHINA / National

Crackdown to target illegal guns, explosives
By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-14 05:54

 2006年6月3日,近日南京警方对今年以来“治暴缉枪”行动中收缴上来的700多支非法枪、3000余把管制刀具,进行统一集中销毁,销毁地设在南钢集团内。Chinese police have launched a crackdown on the deadly trade in illegal guns and explosives.
Chinese police check newly confiscated guns in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu province, June 3, 2006. Chinese police launched a four-month operation to crackdown the deadly trade in illegal guns and explosives, the Ministry of Public Security said on Tuesday. [Newsphoto]

Chinese police have launched a crackdown on the deadly trade in illegal guns and explosives.

During the four-month operation, efforts will be made to trace and confiscate illegal guns, explosives and knives, the Ministry of Public Security said Tuesday.

The production, sale and stockpiling of guns and explosives have been decreasing nationwide since 2001, but the problem is still "severe" in some areas, and causes "constant accidents," ministry spokesman Wu Heping said at a press conference.

Although illegal, weapons production and dealing remains rampant in Hualong County in Northwest China's Qinghai Province and Songtao County in Southwest China's Guizhou Province, the ministry said.

Despite harsh penalties criminals who sell guns or explosives can receive punishments ranging from three years in jail to the death penalty high profits still attract people to the trade.

"Each gun may generate profits of up to 3,000 yuan (US$375)," said Xu Hu, deputy director of the ministry's public security bureau. "The money is a huge temptation for farmers with yearly incomes of less than 1,000 yuan (US$125)."

Last June, criminals Ma Saiyi and Ma Huni were arrested in Qinghai for the production and sale of more than 100 guns. They were both jailed for 12 years.

Meanwhile more gun crimes have been reported in South China's Guangdong Province, according to the ministry.

Xu said officials were working closely with police from Hong Kong and Macao, which neighbour the province, to combat the gun trade in triad-ridden areas.

Ministry figures show that more than 3.8 million illegal weapons have been confiscated in recent years.

Explosives are another threat. So far this year, illegally produced dynamite has killed 60 and injured 36 in nine accidents.

The latest explosion killed 10 and left one seriously injured in Xiyankou Village in Fanshi County, North China's Shanxi Province, last Thursday.

Police are still hunting for two suspects, who went on the run following the blast.

The ministry said the explosives problem is especially serious in North China's Hebei and Shanxi provinces, East China's Shandong and Fujian provinces, and Central China's Hunan and Henan provinces.

Because China has tightened regulations on the management of explosives, some unlicensed coalmines have no way to get legal dynamite and have turned to illegal sources, which "encourages the underground production and sale of explosives," said Xu.

Xu said officials had now finished numbering detonators in a bid to make it easier to manage their sale and distribution.

Currently, China produces more than 3.2 billion detonators every year, but Xu said serial numbers would not be duplicated in 10 years under the new system.