XIAMEN, Fujian – Three men in East China’s Fujian province have been charged with producing and selling imitation guns following a raid on a toy gun factory in Jinjiang city in July.
You Zhixian, a publicity officer with Jinjiang public security bureau, said the three suspects surnamed Huang, Ge and Chen had been arrested on suspicion of producing and selling imitation guns that could cause injury.
“More than 10,000 imitation firearms were discovered in the factory,” he said.
You said the investigation is continuing and police are trying to trace other people involved.
China’s gun control law forbids producing or selling imitation guns that can cause injury.
The illegal activity was first discovered in April when Henan police seized a batch of EG723 air pistols, which looked liked police guns, en route from Fujian to Henan.
The guns were ordered by a gun dealer surnamed Zhang, who said he had started a business with Huang, the owner of the toy factory in Jinjiang, last year. He said he had bought more than 200 guns from Huang.
The Ministry of Public Security ordered Jinjiang police to investigate the case in late June and imitation firearms including shotguns, submachine guns and pistols were discovered at the manufacturing base of Huang’s Zhigao Toy Co Ltd.
Huang confessed that he founded the factory in 2003 and produced more than 10 types of imitation guns, eight of which the police considered dangerous, that were sold to countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines.
Police also found a secret plant inside the factory that exclusively produced the EG723 air pistols, which were made of a zinc alloy and copper and fired 6 millimeter plastic bullets. The gun cost 45 yuan ($7) to produce and was sold at 56 yuan to dealers.
Ge and Chen were reported to have joined Huang last year and there were more than 10 workers producing around 100 guns each day in the factory.
Huang was involved in another imitation gun manufacture case in 2004. At that time, Jinjiang police confiscated some 140,000 toy guns from Huang’s factory. Huang sued the police but lost the lawsuit in 2007.
Some experts have been calling for a review of the law that was enacted in 1996 to better control imitation guns.
Shen Kui, a law professor with Peking University, said that as many imitation guns are dangerous and resemble real guns, they should be judged as real guns and banned, so as to prevent them entering society and to provide a legal basis to punish violators.
Reports say in many places, imitation guns can be bought at shops near schools and some primary school students buy the guns for self-defense.
The latest incident involving an imitation gun was a high school student in Fujian’s Zhangzhou city who attacked a teacher, a guard and a cleaner in the school, using an imitation submachine gun on Friday.
The three were hurt but not seriously injured. Four other pistols were found in the attacker’s school bag.