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.