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50,000 guns seized in National Day drive
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Chinese police have confiscated more than 50,000 guns and nearly 900 tonnes of explosives in a crackdown during the past five months, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said Thursday.

Nearly 10,000 suspects have been arrested. The crackdown on explosives and gun-related crimes began in March and will continue until China's Oct. 1 National Day celebration, the ministry said.

The crackdown is part of an MPS campaign to maintain social stability during its National Day celebration. This year marks the60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The figures show a dramatic increase from a previous ministry report on July 20. At that time 19,000 guns and 500 tonnes of explosives had been confiscated and 5,200 people arrested.

"The report on July 20 only covered data collected from the end of April to July, whereas Thursday's report covered the entire campaign from March 1 to now," a ministry director surnamed Cheng in charge of the crackdown explained the surge in numbers.

Cheng said of the 50,000 guns more than 30,000, or 60 percent, had been voluntarily handed in by the public.

All the guns and explosives had been destroyed, he said.

Possession of guns by private individuals is illegal in China.

Police also confiscated 3.74 million detonators and raided 562 illegal sites where guns and explosives were being made and modified.

In one case, police arrested Wang Yanjun, a most wanted list suspect, in May. Wang allegedly to lead a team which had manufactured more than 280,000 detonators in central China's Shanxi Province since April 2008.

Meanwhile, the MPS has also asked the public to report to the ministry if they have information about private possession or illegal production of guns and explosives.

Rewards between 500 to 20,000 yuan (about 73 to 2,926 US dollars) are available for those who provide useful information leading to the confiscation of illegal munitions.

(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2009)

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