A middle-aged Hong Kong woman could face a severe penalty, possibly a life in prison, after she was caught trying to smuggle toy guns into the mainland.
The woman, who was not identified, was carrying a big bag when she attempted to enter Shenzhen through the Lo Wu checkpoint in the afternoon of June 22, Shenzhen Evening News reports.
Shenzen customs officials asked her to open the bag and found eight replica guns in paper sandwich bags.
While she claimed they were only toys, customs officials said they weighed like genuine guns.
The woman was then turned over to Shenzhen police and the items were sent to a police laboratory for further examination.
The result that came back on Tuesday confirmed that the items, although not real guns, could be treated as such based on the standards set by Chinese authorities.
According to the Chinese standards, an item is considered a real gun if it has a gunpoint kinetic energy of at least 1.8 joules per square centimeter, compared with 2 joules in Hong Kong.
The seized items were found to fall within that standard.
A Lo Wu customs official was quoted as saying that it is wrong for people to assume that replica guns bought in Hong Kong retail shops are just toys.
The woman has been charged with the criminal offense of smuggling weapons and ammunition.
If found guilty, she could be sentenced to life imprisonment, since the death penalty for the offense has been canceled since Aug. 29 of last year, Apple Daily reports.
She allegedly told investigators that she had been paid several hundred Hong Kong dollars by someone to carry the guns into the mainland.
In the first half of the year, 644 weapons, replica weapons and accessories were seized at the Lo Wu checkpoint while 429 were confiscated at the Huanggang and Futian ports, according to data from the Shenzhen customs bureau.
– Contact us at [email protected]