Homemade firearms are widely seized across china, a large number used illegally for pest control and hunting. Notable is the frequency at which handmade semi automatic pistols are encountered, many loosely based on the Type-64 copy of the Walther PPK as well as the Type-77 in use by police and the PLA.
The poverty stricken county of Songtao located in Guizhou province is widely noted as having a booming cottage industry from where handmade pistols produced in the basements and garages are trafficked through Xiushan and Huayuan and then on to buyers in coastal cities.
Assembling a handmade Type 64 takes an experienced gunsmith only two to three days and costs around 300 yuan, yet several transactions by middlemen can push the sales price up to more than 10,000 yuan in places such as Shenzhen, an economic hub in Guangdong province.
“In two to three days, these gun traders make more money than we do in a month,” joked a gun taskforce member who did not want to be identified.
When Wu Bike could no longer afford a high school education in the wake of his father’s death in 1998, he said making guns seemed to be a reasonable option. The oldest of three sons and the family’s sole breadwinner, Wu learned to assemble Type 64 pistols after taking apart imitation guns (also illegal in China).
“I never gave it much thought. All my friends did it,” he told China Daily.
Soon after, Wu and three of his friends – all farmers in Songtao’s Daxing township – were caught by police in his cellar, where they had just sold a handmade Type 64 to a middleman for about 500 yuan. Wu was sentenced to four years in prison but it did not take him long to pick up where he left off.
In the summer of 2002, just months after his release, police again raided Wu’s house and found about two dozen gun parts. – China Daily
“Deputy Party chief Zhou acknowledged, however, that the main challenges with gun seizures remain economic ones.
“I can’t rule out the possibility that people (with the know-how) are migrating elsewhere (to make and sell guns),” he said. “Technical leakage is beyond our control.”
The ability to manufacture guns, which some learn from older generations and others through work experience, is something people are usually keen to hold onto, said taskforce captain Long.”