Illegal E-Commerce: Buying Guns Online in China is Apparently Pretty Easy

Like many of our readers, I was intrigued by my colleague Enricko's recent post on an Indonesian e-commerce site selling guns online. I have often seen it said that it's equally easy to find guns online in China, despite the fact that guns are not legal for citizens to own. But is that really the case? I decided to test things for myself, and set out on a quest to buy a gun online in China. (Of course, I never really planned to actually purchase a gun; that would be illegal and stupid. But I wanted to see how far I could get).

I started out the same way any Chinese net user probably would: I searched for "where to buy guns" on Baidu. The results were disappointing. Even after spending a lot of time filtering through pages of results and playing with the search terms, I hadn't found anything all that promising. In fact, the only leads I found were sketchy BBS threads about where to buy guns that often ended with a QQ number and a (probably fake) name. Still, it was better than nothing, so I registered a new QQ account (using a throwaway email) and added some supposed gun-runners to my friends list.

While I wanted for those reputable gentlemen to get back to me on QQ, I figured I'd try a Google search. Most gun-related Baidu searches had resulted in a disclaimer that in accordance with Chinese law, some of the search results had been hidden. I figured those were probably exactly the results I was looking for, and google.com.hk probably wouldn't hide them. I was right. Immediately I found much more thorough BBS posts with phone numbers, gun models, and price lists. I even found an ecommerce site called QiangAK ("Gun AK") that appears to sell real guns and bullets in addition to its more prominently-advertised Airsoft guns. It was hard to be sure if they were for real, though, so I added that shopkeep to my QQ list too.

I didn't get any response at all from the supposed gun sellers I found via Baidu, but the guy behind QiangAK did get back to me, and informed me that guns like the one pictured above are both real and very much for sale. As he pointed out, they're marked as "military-use" guns, but I can't imagine the Chinese military really buys its weapons from this site, or that it encourages officers to buy extra weapons on the side. Moreover, he didn't seem to care whether or not I was in the military -- he was just pointing out that all the guns marked "military use" were real guns, as opposed to airsoft guns. Not wanting to actually commit any crimes, I didn't attempt to buy any guns, but it certainly felt like I could have.

When I began research for this post, I was imagining it as a piece that would debunk the idea that guns are easy to buy online in China. But my experience seems to indicate that it really is pretty easy to find guns to buy. If a non-native Chinese speaker who knows nothing about guns like me was able to find all of this stuff in just a few hours, it's hard to imagine Chinese people having much trouble with it.

Of course, there's a big difference between finding somebody willing to sell a gun and actually buying one. For all I know, the guy behind QiangAK is really an undercover cop who would have tried to arrest me if I had attempted to go through with buying a gun. Or maybe he would have insisted I provide proof of a military or police ID. Maybe buying guns isn't as easy as it looks. But I can't shake the feeling that if I could find a gun seller online with search engines and just a few hours, a dedicated Chinese web user wouldn't have much trouble finding a seller online.

Thankfully, it seems that the vast majority of China's web users aren't trying to buy guns in the first place. Privately-owned guns remain quite rare in China, and sketchy online gun sellers are probably filling a small niche selling guns to organized crime rather than loading up the average Zhou for a rampage.

Still, it's interesting that on China's heavily controlled internet, finding guns was so easy. Using just Baidu and Google, I was able to find links to gun sellers. I get the feeling that if I had been searching for something political like "Tiananmen 1989" instead of "real guns," I might actually have had a harder time finding what I was looking for.


The post Illegal E-Commerce: Buying Guns Online in China is Apparently Pretty Easy appeared first on Tech in Asia.
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

  • No apology, but Noy seeks understanding
    No apology, but Noy seeks understanding

    There was no apology, but President Aquino yesterday expressed regret, took “full responsibility” and appealed to the nation for “deepest understanding” for the Jan. 25 Mamasapano raid in which dozens died, including 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation, it is with abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Aquino said in a speech before the 246 new graduates of …

  • MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician
    MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician

    Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added. Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as a presidential candidate …

  • No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP
    No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not suspending its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless groups during the Holy Week, an official said yesterday. Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the AFP leadership is leaving it up to area and division commanders whether to raise the alert status in preparation for the Holy Week. Those deployed in areas where there are ongoing law enforcement operations against terrorist groups …

  • Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP
    Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to investigate a human rights lawyer’s claim of harassment, including surveillance, by several military officers. In a 22-page decision, the former Special Sixth Division of the appellate court granted the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data of Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon. The CA ordered the AFP to identify the officers behind the surveillance and file charges against them. The CA ruling said …

  • Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP
    Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP

    President Aquino vowed yesterday to dismantle the culture of factionalism or the bata-bata system within the Philippine National Police as he continued the search for the next PNP chief. Speaking at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises here, the President said the country needed solidarity among leaders and members of the police force so that the policemen would be effective protectors of Filipinos. “Our challenge to the next chief of our national police force: …

  • Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl
    Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl

    Retire and invest in real estate in the Philippines, especially now that the country has made it to the top 10 retirement destinations in the world. This is the message being spread by the Philippine embassy in Washington, with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. leading the refrain in meetings with various Filipino-American communities in the US. In his talks, Cuisia said that an affordable cost of living as well as warm climate and people are just some of the things that make the Philippines a top …

  • PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson
    PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson

    The stigma of being a namesake of the principal suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre did not prevent Cadet First Class Andal Ampatuan III from entering and graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Ampatuan III, now with a rank of police inspector, is a grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. The younger Ampatuan was among the 246 graduates of the PNPA “Lakandula” Class of 2015. Ampatuan III’s mother is Bai Rebecca Ampatuan, a daughter of the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options