Job lot of HK police revolver 'specials' on sale in Manila
By RUTH MATHEWSON
MORE than 1,500 second-hand police revolvers, still emblazoned with the Royal Hong Kong Police insignia, are on sale at a Manila warehouse.
The .38 Colt handguns are advertised as 'Police Positive Special from the Royal Hong Kong Police' in an effort to attract souvenir-hunting gun enthusiasts.
Floro International chairman Victorino Floro said his company had bought the batch from the Government last year to sell on the Philippines market.
The advertisements appeared in the Philippines this month, as a gang of armed robbers opened fire on a police car in Manila's busiest street and a series of armed kidnappings and robberies ended in fatal shootouts.
Gun ownership in the Philippines was popular and the Royal Hong Kong Police insignia had souvenir value, Mr Floro said.
'Here in the Philippines, everybody is making guns and selling them at cheap prices,' he said.
'When you buy a revolver in Manila, sometimes it is hand-made and it explodes in your hands.
'By saying it was made by Colt and used by the police, we're saying it's not hand-made,' he said.
'We had to take them apart, sand-blast them, check for defective parts, assemble them, fire some bullets to make sure they worked and then blackened them again.' For those unable to afford the 7,995 peso ($3,200) price tag, the company offers to accept payment in instalments.
A Government Supplies Department spokesman said the 1,560 revolvers were sold by tender for $323 each - a total of $503,880 - in July last year.
Hong Kong Force Armourer Tam Siu-kwong said the guns were among thousands sold off after the police decided to replace their Colts with Smith & Wesson handguns.
'The Smith & Wesson model 10 is better, more reliable,' he said. 'In 1995 we arranged to sell the PP Colt four-inch barrel revolver through the Government.
'It's a very old design. We bought them in several batches, but some are over 20 years old,' he said.