China top court improves handling of gun, explosive cases

13:03, November 26, 2009      

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China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) has published a revised regulation on handling criminal cases involving guns and explosives in order to better protect public security.

The amended regulation, taking effect on Jan. 1, 2010, expands the scope of gun and explosive-related crimes to cover "illegal storage" of robbed or stolen explosives, or those with unknown origin.

An unnamed official of the top court said, "The dangerous nature of explosives rests with explosives and guns themselves. It is a legal loophole that the previous interpretation did not include such gun storage, which harms public security."

The current regulation on hearing guns related cases, promulgated in May 2001, only defines such crimes as "illegal manufacturing, selling, transporting and mailing explosives and guns."

The SPC statistics show Chinese courts have handled about 2,500gun and explosive-related cases annually since 2002.

The official said the police and courts had cracked down hard on criminal cases involving guns and explosives that seriously threatened social order.

For people who were charged with crimes involving explosives in production and operating activities, lenient sentence should be handed out to those without any evil intention, he said.

The country would "continue to make great efforts in cracking down on gun crimes and will not lower down the criminal penalties stipulated in the current regulation," the official said.

The revision also clarifies the definition of using explosives as means of production. It says using explosives to build road and houses, dig wells and in farming, among others, are deemed legal.

The official said this clear definition could help crack down on using explosives in "illegal production activities."

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