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 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.

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.

  • Indonesia informs drug convicts of execution
    Indonesia informs drug convicts of execution

    Indonesia said Saturday it had officially notified eight foreign drug convicts that they will be executed, prompting an appeal from United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon to spare the prisoners and suspend the death penalty. A Frenchman also on death row for drug-related crimes was granted a temporary reprieve after Paris stepped up pressure on Jakarta. The eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- have been transported to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan where …

  • UN chief urges Indonesia to spare drug convicts from execution
    UN chief urges Indonesia to spare drug convicts from execution

    United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon appealed to Indonesia on Saturday to spare from impending execution a group of 10 death-row drug convicts, most of them foreigners. "The Secretary General appeals to the government of Indonesia to refrain from carrying out the execution, as announced, of 10 prisoners on death row for alleged drug-related crimes," a spokesman for Ban said. Earlier Saturday, Indonesia said it had officially notified eight foreign nationals convicted of drug crimes -- from …

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

  • Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions
    Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

    Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that …

  • ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’
    ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

    The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite made the statement to allay the fears of his colleagues that the proposal, contained in the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), would violate the Charter. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part …

  • Noy off to KL for Asean meet
    Noy off to KL for Asean meet

    President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early …

  • Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food
    Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

    After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options