Early victory claimed as 120,000 weapons seized

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 1994, 12:00am

CHINA yesterday claimed an early victory in its nationwide gun control drive, saying police had seized 120,000 illegal firearms in just 30 days.

The official Workers' Daily, citing statistics from half of China's provinces and major cities, said a month-long 'concentration of police might' had smashed 184 'gun-running cartels' and yielded a huge arsenal of firearms.

More than 10,000 suspects were arrested on weapons charges in the 30-day period beginning on August 29, it said.

The crackdown was continuing.

Among the 120,000 firearms seized were 500 'military use' guns - presumably automatic and semi-automatic weapons, such as the Chinese-made SKS used in the White House attack.

'The campaign to crush weapons-related crime has already been an obvious success,' the newspaper said.

China fears growing numbers of guns are a recipe for a crime explosion.

Poor controls over China's huge munitions industry, the three million-strong People's Liberation Army and more than one million police officers, have given criminal gangs relatively easy access to a wide range of firearms.

Beijing began fighting back with a widely publicised campaign to confiscate unlicensed arms. Officials tacked up posters offering an amnesty for citizens who handed over illegal guns.

They promised stiff penalties for those who do not.

The nationwide operation has also yielded 300,000 rounds of ammunition and more than 50,000 knives subject to state controls, the newspaper said.

The Workers' Daily said police had smashed more than 400 'crime dens' where illegal guns, ammunition and explosives were manufactured or sold.

China announced earlier this year that more than 300,000 illegal firearms had been rounded up in previous operations.