This latest toy in China is causing alarm amongst parents.
A new pellet-shooting mini crossbow is picking up in popularity. The handsized toy, which can be held and fired like a handgun, shoots small metal BB pellets that are strong enough to penetrate fruit, crack glass bottles — and cause serious injuries.
More worryingly, the toys are extremely inexpensive, at $5 (33 yuan) each, making them accessible to most kids.
A report by the Legal Evening Post revealed that the makers of the laser-equipped crossbow also used to manufacture crossbows that shot wooden toothpicks. They moved on to making the BB pellet variation, after local governments and schools started to ban the viral but dangerous toys.
That toy was just $1 (7 yuan).
The new BB pellet crossbow costs about 0.20 yuan ($0.03), and takes two workers about 15 minutes to make.
Some bow enthusiast websites are selling even more powerful versions of the pellet crossbows at 200 yuan ($29.50) each:
This is the terrifying damage the souped-up ones can do.
Chinese regulators are beginning to respond. Social media sites like Weibo, China’s Twitter, have started to block searches for the pellet crossbows:
But the pellet crossbows still appear to be available online. A search for videos of the crossbow on Miaopai, a Chinese streaming site, led to a series of posts directing people to phone numbers and QQ instant messaging numbers of vendors, from which you can purportedly buy the weapons.
The ease of access, and mainly online method of purchasing is worrying, given that it allows most teens equipped with smartphones to access the weapon.
With the string of injuries that the short-lived toothpick crossbow already caused, here’s hoping nobody gets hurt with the BB crossbow.