China's 'Strike Hard' yields guns and explosives
By staff and wire reports
BEIJING, China -- China's three-month-old "Strike Hard" campaign against crime has unearthed 1,600 tons of illegal explosives and more than 330,000 guns.
The Ministry of Public Security's newspaper, the China Police Daily, reported the latest figures on Tuesday, adding that some 3.5 million detonators and 1.5 million bullets had also been seized.
Police said they had cracked more than 35,000 cases involving illegal explosives and guns this year and charged more than 63,000 people, the paper also said.
Privately owned firearms and explosives are illegal in China, but made in the thousands by illegal workshops.
Police have raided and shut down more than 15,000 such workshops this year, the newspaper said.
In the worst crime involving explosives in recent years, 108 people were killed in a series of blasts on March 16 in the northern industrial city of Shijiazhuang.
One man convicted of planting the bombs and two men found guilty of providing him with the explosives and detonators were executed.
Just days after the Shijiazhuang blasts, China launched a three-month "Strike Hard" campaign to speed up the arrests and prosecution on crimes and other "unstable factors in society".
Gun-toting criminal gangs have also been targeted in the "Strike Hard" campaign.
On May 20, 14 members of a gang were executed for a nine-year robbery and murder spree in which 28 people were killed and at least 20 critically injured.
But China's Politburo member in charge of law and order, Luo Gan, had said that police might not have adequate resources to fight crime.
"Many gangs and criminals have more sophisticated arms than the police do," Luo said.
He added that budgets for law enforcement, especially in remote areas, were far from sufficient.
Meanwhile, human rights groups have also raised concerns about the Strike Hard campaign.
Amnesty International noted the rise in the number of executions linked to the anti-crime drive, claiming that many of the trials were unfair and conducted summarily.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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