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Illegal explosive trade targeted
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-13 06:17

A series of deadly blasts has prompted the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) to crack down on illegally stored explosives.

Police across the country have been ordered to tighten the control of the production of materials which are used to make crudely home-made explosives by farmers.

"A large-scale campaign is underway around the nation to stamp out the illegal production, purchase and sales, transportation and storage of explosives and guns," said to Xu Hu, deputy director of MPS' Public Security Bureau.

He said though there was a widespread and legitimate demand for explosives such as in the mining industry and for the making of fireworks, some were exploiting legal loopholes and stockpiling caches of deadly material at home or in other storage spaces perilously close to communities.

The MPS' announcement is in reaction to the latest deadly blast in a village in Central China's Henan Province.

The latest case, an explosion, took place on Monday evening, killing 14 and injuring five in a village in Henan Province, reported Xinhua.

Last March, another similar blast killed 12 and injured 10 in North China's Shanxi Province. Police later found two tons of explosives stored in an old temple.

Farmers are using fertilizers which contain large amounts of ammonium nitrate to make explosives. The race for quick profits is causing the often careless and lethal stockpiling of highly explosive materials, said experts.

"Ammonium nitrate is an important content of fertilizer used in rural areas," said Wang Xinjian, a professor from the Chinese People's Public Security University. He added: "At the same, an easy method to manufacture explosives is to mix ammonium nitrate with diesel oil and paring."

Legal experts said additional legislation is needed to consummate laws and regulations against fireworks factories and the misuse of fertilizer.

Guo Fuxuan, a procurator in Beijing, said the illegal possession or storage of "a single non-military gun" would violate the criminal law, without mentioning the possession of explosives.

He suggested similar punishment should be given to the suspects who illegally possess or store explosives.

(China Daily 05/13/2005 page2)

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