Chengdu police bust gun dealers
CHENGDU: Police have confiscated 39 firearms and 579 bullets after cracking a gun-smuggling ring involving seven people.
The items uncovered are the most varied and biggest in number of any bust in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, said Su Peiwei, head of the Chengdu Municipal Public Security Bureau.
The probe started in the wake of a drug smuggling case in March, when police learnt that some criminals were also showing a lot of interest in firearms.
Tracking the suspects for 10 months, police captured four of them red-handed on Friday, while they were clinching a deal in a hotel.
They seized 19 handguns and submachine guns, and 579 bullets.
Over the following three days, police arrested three more people and confiscated a further 20 firearms and more than 1.8 kilograms of marijuana.
The majority of the 39 firearms were handguns. Six are long-barrelled guns including AK47s and compact submachine guns.
It is the first time that smuggled AK47s have been found in Chengdu, according to police.
All of the handguns were smuggled from Northwest China's Qinghai Province, while the remainder of the weapons came from South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
It is believed two handguns had already been sold by the gun runners for 3,500 yuan (US$423). Police are looking for the weapons and the buyers.
The other weapons were on sale for as much as 10,000 yuan (US$1,200), police said.
In another development, the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court found six firearms dealers guilty yesterday.
Three were given life sentences and the remaining three got 15, 12 and three years, respectively.
In April, Yang Hong, a native of Songpan in Sichuan Province, and his girlfriend Feng Yan bought six firearms for 12,000 yuan (US$1,450) from a smuggler. They then sold one of them for a profit.
In the same month, Yang purchased another seven firearms during a hotel deal in Chengdu from Ma Qiyuan and Ma Yinu, two smugglers from Qinghai.
(China Daily 01/28/2005 page3)