Chinese police have arrested 172 suspects for selling guns online, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) Friday.
All of the suspects were involved in an extremely serious case of online gun sales spanning eight provincial-level regions.
The police also busted 12 gangs for selling guns and 13 manufacturing dens, with 366 guns including air guns, pistols and shotguns, as well as over 20,000 accessories confiscated.
Online gun sales seriously disturbs social stability and the people's sense of security, according to the MPS, which pledged to continue tough stance on gun crime.
The ministry asked the public to improve their legal knowledge, not to manufacture or sell guns, and turn in any illegally possessed guns. They also encouraged the people to report any knowledge of gun crime to the police.
In March 2016, police from east China's Jiangxi Province noticed information on gun sales that was published via groups on WeChat, China's most popular instant messaging application.
Throughout subsequent investigations, police found that deals were mainly made on WeChat, resulting in sales of more than 20 guns and over 3,000 bullets.
Possession of guns by private individuals is illegal in China. The MPS announced Wednesday that a two-year campaign would be launched targeting the manufacture and sale of guns and explosives in China, and the smuggling of related goods from other countries.
Since July 18, 2017, Chinese police have solved over 3,800 criminal cases on the illegal manufacture and sales of guns and explosives, busting 192 manufacture dens and 265 gun sales websites, while investigating some 25,000 suspects.