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July 21, 2012

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Man tried for purchasing gun parts from US

A LOCAL gun enthusiast accused of buying 37 air-gun barrels and more than 5,000 pellets from a United States website and artificially declaring them to be pipes, screws and nuts stood on trial yesterday at the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court.

The suspect Zhang Xiaodong, 32, was charged with smuggling weapons and ammunition, prosecutors said.

He was caught by Shanghai customs police on September 15 last year when he went to a FedEx delivery outlet on Shilong Road to pick up a parcel containing three air-gun barrels.

Prosecutors said Zhang, a local engineer, bought the barrels from a US website,, and declared them to be water heater pipes.

It is illegal for Chinese citizens to own or trade weapons.

Between December 2010 and last September, Zhang bought 37 air-gun barrels and 51,230 pellets including Kodiak Match and Crow Magnum pellets from the website and paid more than 90,000 yuan (US$14,119).

He asked the website to wrap the weapons in silver paper and declared them to be pipes, screws, nuts and clothes, the court heard.

Zhang admitted all accusations and pleaded guilty in court.

"I knew it is illegal to buy weapons from foreign countries, so I wrote a vague address, used a fake name and picked up the deliveries myself," Zhang said at yesterday's hearing.

Prosecutors said Zhang bought two fake identification cards from street vendors and used them to open a bank account and receive deliveries.

The customs police seized an air rifle, 3,500 pellets, some gunsights and swings at Zhang's home in Zhuanqiao Town in Minhang District.

Zhang said he assembled the air rifle himself and used to practice shooting at home after installing a muffler.

According to Chinese law, Zhang could face a jail term of between three and seven years. But prosecutors called for a heavier sentence, asking the court to consider that Zhang not only bought the weapons to satisfy his own interest but also sold them to other gun enthusiasts for profit.

A client list in Zhang's computer had the names and contacts of 73 people across the country, and 10 of them confirmed to police that they had bought barrels or pellets from Zhang.

But the number was inadequate to accuse Zhang of illegally selling ammunition, prosecutors said.

The court didn't announce a verdict yesterday.


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