China police seize thousands of guns, knives: Report

A policeman stands near confiscated replica guns on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province March 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A policeman stands near confiscated replica guns on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province March 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Police officers look at confiscated replica guns after a siege at a warehouse in Shaodong, Hunan province March 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Police officers look at confiscated replica guns after a siege at a warehouse in Shaodong, Hunan province March 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Policemen look at confiscated knives on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province March 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Policemen look at confiscated knives on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province March 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A bottle of pellets, which are the bullets of the confiscated replica guns, is seen on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province March 6, 2014.  -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A bottle of pellets, which are the bullets of the confiscated replica guns, is seen on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province March 6, 2014.  -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Policemen stand next to confiscated knives and replica guns on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province March 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Policemen stand next to confiscated knives and replica guns on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province March 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
This picture taken on March 6, 2014 shows knives and guns confiscated by police in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou province. -- PHOTO: AFP
This picture taken on March 6, 2014 shows knives and guns confiscated by police in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou province. -- PHOTO: AFP
This picture taken on March 6, 2014 shows guns and knives confiscated by police in Guiyang, south-west China's Guizhou province.  -- PHOTO: AFP
This picture taken on March 6, 2014 shows guns and knives confiscated by police in Guiyang, south-west China's Guizhou province.  -- PHOTO: AFP
This picture taken on March 6, 2014 shows a SWAT policeman check a gun confiscated by police in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou province.  -- PHOTO: AFP
This picture taken on March 6, 2014 shows a SWAT policeman check a gun confiscated by police in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou province.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Police holds a suspect as they count replica guns in Shaodong, Hunan province on March 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Police holds a suspect as they count replica guns in Shaodong, Hunan province on March 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Policemen look at confiscated knives on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province on March 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Policemen look at confiscated knives on display at a police station in Guiyang, Guizhou province on March 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A policeman checks on confiscated illegal replica guns in Guiyang, Guizhou province, March 6, 2014. A huge cache of weapons, including 15,000 guns and 120,000 knives, was seized from an illegal arms ring and 15 suspects detained, state media reported
A policeman checks on confiscated illegal replica guns in Guiyang, Guizhou province, March 6, 2014. A huge cache of weapons, including 15,000 guns and 120,000 knives, was seized from an illegal arms ring and 15 suspects detained, state media reported on Monday. -- PHOTO:  REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - Police in China have seized a huge cache of weapons, including 15,000 guns and 120,000 knives, from an illegal arms ring and detained 15 suspects, state media reported on Monday.

The weapons were confiscated after a four-month investigation, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper, which called the operation the largest-ever such seizure in China.

Police were tipped off to the arms ring's existence after investigating a robbery in Guiyang, the capital of south-west China's Guizhou province, the newspaper said.

They traced the source of a gun used in the robbery to a family-run "gang" in neighbouring Hunan province that advertised itself as a factory but controlled several warehouses where guns and knives were sold.

The group's business covered 27 provinces and municipalities, the paper said.

Private gun ownership is banned in China, and knives exceeding certain measurements are classified as "controlled".

Violent crime is rare in the country, but authorities have pledged a wide-ranging crackdown after recent incidents including a mass stabbing at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming that left 29 dead and 143 wounded.