A suspended jail sentence for a Guangdong man for the illegal purchase of an airsoft gun and 964 rounds of ammunition has sparked a debate on a similar case in Sichuan, where an 18-year-old defendant was jailed for life.
The Guangzhou man received a three-year suspended jail sentence from the People’s Court of Nansha District.
In contrast, Liu Da-wei from Dazhou in Sichuan Province was jailed to life for ordering 24 replica guns.
Was Liu’s sentence overly harsh?
Many netizens have been debating the issue since the Guangzhou case came to light.
Liu, a gun fanatic who worked at a toy gun factory in Shenzhen, paid 30,540 yuan (US$4.475) to an online seller on July 16, 2014.
The shipment was seized by Fujian customs authorities and he was arrested one month later on weapons smuggling charges.
The Fujian Quanzhou Intermediate People’s Court gave the maximum jail term after ruling that 20 of the 24 guns seized were lethal.
Liu’s attorney said different verdicts can be given on similar cases, depending on the point of view of the judge
Chinese law defines a gun as any object with a fire power of more than 1.8 joules per square centimeter.
The threshold in Hong Kong and Taiwan are 7.70 joules and 20 joules, respectively.
State news agency Xinhua said the court had already applied leniency to Liu.
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