Kowloon merchant the latest arrest in crackdown on air-powered and imitation firearms

A 31-year-old man is being questioned after police seize 62 weapons and machines believed to be used to modify guns from his flat

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016, 7:14pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2016, 9:51pm

A stockpile of 62 air-powered and imitation firearms was seized during a raid on a Kowloon City apartment on Monday, police said.

The seized air pistols and shotguns, and model guns were confiscated along with HK$40,000 and two machines suspected to have been used to modify weapons in the Nga Tsin Long Road flat.

Police arrested a 31-year-old Hong Kong man shortly before 6pm on Monday on suspicion of dealing arms without a licence. Under the Firearms and Ammunition Ordinance, the offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years jail and a HK$100,000 fine.

Initial investigations showed the man, who lives in Tsing Yi, had allegedly used the Kowloon City flat to store his collection and modify weapons for about a year, the Post was told.

The man is understood to be a model gun collector and merchant who told police that he sold air-powered and model guns on the internet.

“Investigations revealed that the man allegedly helped his clients to modify weapons,” one source with the knowledge of the case said.

It is understood that most of the seized weapons were air pistols and one of the two machines seized during the raid could be used as a drill.

The haul has been sent to the Forensic Firearms Examination Division for ballistic examination to determine if the guns produce more than the legal limit of two joules of power. An air gun that produces more than two joules is considered a firearm under Hong Kong law. In the city, arm licences are issued by the police force.

On Tuesday afternoon, the man was being held by police for questioning and had not been charged.

Monday’s arrest was made after officers seized three air guns and arrested an 18-year-old man in Sha Tin on May 12. A source with knowledge of the case said one of the weapons - a rifle - was classified as an firearm after examination showed it could produce more than the legal limit of two joules of power.

“Investigations showed the rifle was bought from the merchant,” this source said, referring to Monday’s arrest.

He said investigation was continuing and he did not rule out the possibility of further arrests.

The Sha Tin man was released on bail pending further investigation.

Monday’s raid at the Kowloon City merchant’s flat was one of two seizures of air-powered and imitation firearms made by police in less than three weeks.

On July 22, officers from the Kowloon East regional anti-triad squad arrested a 45-year-old man and seized 22 air pistols and rifles from his Chik Fai Street flat in Sha Tin. Twelve air rifles and 10 air guns were found along with 45 magazines and a bag of plastic pellets.

A site worker who police suspected to have triad connections was arrested on suspicion of possessing intimation firearms and released on bail while the weapons were taken for ballistic examination.