A thousand police and paramilitary personnel used armoured vehicles and helicopters to swoop down on the arsenals, tucked away in the remote, forested border of Chongqing, Hunan and Guizhou.
Investigators had tracked guns used in recent crimes in Chongqing, a large inland port city, to the arsenals, it said.
The one-hour pre-dawn raid on Friday netted dozens of suspects and copied guns, the Xinhua news agency said.
"The manufacturing and selling of the guns would not only pose a severe safety threat to Chongqing and neighbouring areas, but if the guns spread, they would also create a major security threat to central and western parts of China," the Liberation Army Daily said in a report on the attack.
Gun ownership is illegal in China, and criminal gangs have occasionally in the past supplied themselves from arsenals holding decommissioned military weapons.
The Ministry of Public Security ordered the elimination of all underground arsenals before the Chinese New Year holiday in late January, Xinhua said.
Last Mod: 11 Ocak 2009, 15:13