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Public Hand in 19,000 Firearms in One Week
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Along with an intense publicity campaign in just one week from August 14 to 20, local authorities took receipt of 115.8 tons of explosives, 305,000 detonators and 124,000 meters of fuse wire handed in by the public. They also took delivery of six tons of gunpowder, 422,000 bullets and 145,000 knives from various individuals, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

The ministry did not reveal how these people had acquired the illegal items. 

Public security authorities also received 3,259 tip-offs on crimes involving firearms, explosives and knives in Beijing, Hebei, Henan, Shanxi, Guangdong and other areas. The information helped  police resolve 680 crimes and arrest over 2,900 suspects.

The crackdown on the illegal manufacture, sale and use of firearms, explosives and knives was launched in early June. Handing over such items to police during the campaign will absolve those assisting from punishment or reduce any potential sentences. 

Chinese law forbids the public from keeping guns, ammunition, explosives and certain types of knives. Violations can result in sentences ranging from three years to ten years jail for cases regarded as not too serious but life imprisonment and the death penalty remain available to the courts. 

In addition the authorities cracked more than 5,180 cases of people illegally manufacturing, selling, buying, transporting, storing and carrying explosives, guns and ammunition. The police also solved more than 200 cases involving explosives and over 60 related to their theft. 

According to the ministry the public is being very supportive of the campaign and so far have provided 10,343 clues to the police of which 4,217 have proved helpful. 

In the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China the authorities recorded 102 cases involving illegal firearms, explosives and knives and arrested 435 suspects in the 70 days since the campaign started. Regional public security authorities have offered rewards up to 5,000 yuan (US$625) for information leading to convictions.

In central China's Hunan Province rewards of up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,250) were offered. The authorities in the provincial capital of Changsha investigated 22 cases involving illegal dealing in firearms, explosives and knives in July and August. 

(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2006)

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