Despite the positive result, vigilance still needed on online sales, smuggling
The number of cases related to firearms and explosives reached a record low last year, but supervision will still be tightened due to the growing trend of online purchases and smuggling of such items, the Ministry of Public Security said.
Due to an ongoing crackdown, the number of firearms and explosives cases has witnessed a significant decrease in recent years, making China one of the countries globally with the lowest level of such crimes, said Qi Xiguo, deputy director of the ministry's Public Security Administration Bureau, on Tuesday.
To maintain strict control over firearms and explosives, the ministry and other departments jointly launched a three-year special operation in June.
Qi said that the operation got off to a good start and is proceeding smoothly. Since the beginning of the year, the number of firearms and explosives crimes has dropped 16 percent year-on-year.
Police have resolved 13,000 such cases nationwide and detained 14,000 suspects, the ministry said.
Public security departments have focused on three key areas of firearms and explosives crime: domestic manufacturing and trafficking, online trafficking, and overseas smuggling. They have strengthened intelligence-sharing and stepped up the pursuit of fugitives, Qi said.
Police have also intensified inspections seeking major caches of firearms and explosives, improved searches at public security checkpoints and made efforts to confiscate firearms and explosives held by members of the public.
Checks at border areas, key ports and of public transportation and express delivery services have also intensified to curb the flow of firearms and explosives, Qi said.
Police have confiscated 43,000 firearms, 1.1 million rounds of ammunition, 25 metric tons of explosives and 103,000 detonators this year, the ministry said.
Qi said that although the number of firearms and explosives-related crimes had reached a record low, there are still cases of manufacturing and trafficking explosive materials and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. He said it is important to address these potential security risks.
"There are still some people buying firearms' components and the raw materials for making explosives online and using them to produce firearms and explosives. Furthermore, there has been an obvious rebound of smuggling of weapons and ammunition in recent years," Qi said.
People and companies overseas have exploited China's low-cost and high-quality production of these components, and ordered large quantities. They then use false documentation to evade inspection and smuggle the hardware out of China.
Firearms and explosives-related crimes are also linked to drug cases, and violent acts of terrorism, he said.
The ministry will strengthen international law enforcement cooperation to chase overseas fugitives involved in such crimes, and also urge internet and logistics companies to intensify their security supervision to block the flow of such materials.
The management and monitoring of people in industries involved producing the raw materials for firearms and explosives will be tightened to prevent the misuse of such materials, the ministry added.
In June, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the ministry issued a notice, promising lenient punishment for those who surrender themselves or voluntarily hand in firearms, ammunition and explosives before Oct 31.
Zhang Jianzhong, deputy head of the SPP's second procuratorial office, said that harsher punishment will be handed out for crimes that have a severe social impact and that are related to terrorism and organized crime.
Online firearms and explosives trafficking, involving a large number of people, will also be severely penalized, Zhang said.
From January to July, prosecutors nationwide approved the arrest of more than 800 people for firearms and explosive crimes, and prosecuted more than 4,000 people, Zhang said.