Life sen­tence for BB gun pur­chases to be re­viewed

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By HUMEIDONG in Fuzhou and XUWEI in Bei­jing Con­tact the writer at xuwei@chi­

A man sen­tenced to life in prison for buy­ing 24 BB guns on­line has won an ap­peal to have his case re­heard.

Liu Dawei, 20, was con­victed of smug­gling the guns from Tai­wan after a trial in April last year at the Quanzhou In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court in Fu­jian prov­ince.

On Wed­nes­day, the pro­vin­cial high court an­nounced it would re­hear the ev­i­dence, stat­ing that the sen­tence was “clearly in­ap­pro­pri­ate”. The court ini­tially turned down the ap­peal in Au­gust last year.

“We were more than happy to learn the news,” Liu’s mother, Hu Guoji, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view.

Hu said she and her hus­band have vis­ited the high court’s of­fices to pe­ti­tion for their son twoor three times per month since Oc­to­ber last year. The cou­ple main­tains their son is in­no­cent of the charges.

Liu, a na­tive of Dazhou, Sichuan prov­ince, pur­chased the BB guns — pneu­matic guns that fire small pel­lets — from an on­line seller in Tai­wan for 30,540yuan($4,700), ac­cord­ing to prose­cu­tors at his first trial.

The goods were seized by cus­toms of­fi­cers in Shishi, Fu­jian prov­ince, and Liu was de­tained by po­lice for smug­gling firearms.

Xu Xin, Liu’s at­tor­ney, said he was pleased that the ef­fort made by the fam­ily has paid off.

“The court will start the trial of the case all over, and I am still go­ing to de­fend my client as in­no­cent,” he said.

One of the key facts re­gard­ing the case is whether the 24 BB guns pur­chased from the Tai­wan dealer can be re­garded as firearms.

After the trial, the court deemed that 20 of the 24 guns pur­chased by Liu could lead to in­juries and thus they were deemed guns.

The pro­duc­tion and sale of im­i­ta­tion firearms is pro­hib­ited in China, which bans civil­ian own­er­ship of weapons.

Xu said his client had no in­ten­tion of smug­gling firearms and had no idea the BB guns would be deemed firearms.

Dur­ing his trial, Liu re­port­edly asked the judges to shoot him with one of the BB guns he had pur­chased. “If I die, I'll ad­mit I'm guilty,” he was quoted as say­ing by Pro cu­ra­to­rial Daily.

Xu said the rea­son his client pur­chased such a large num­ber of BB guns is that the seller would not agree to the sale un­less he pur­chased a min­i­mum of 20.

“What Liu did was merely an on­line pur­chase, and the seller even agreed to pay for the ship­ping fees. He had no idea how the seller was go­ing to ship the items from Tai­wan to the Chi­nese main­land, or whether they would go through cus­toms clear­ance,” the lawyer said.

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