Hong Kong customs officials may take action if retailers are found selling "toothpick crossbows". Photo: Google Map, Taobao.com

Concerned parents in Hong Kong are calling for a ban of the “toothpick crossbow”, a surprisingly powerful miniature crossbow designed and manufactured in China, following similar actions by authorities in China and Macau.

While “fidget spinners” have captured the attention of Hong Kong children so far in 2017, their counterparts on the mainland have been finding amusement in the tiny toothpick crossbows, which first became popular in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

A wooden toothpick fired from the crossbow can penetrate a soft drink can and pop a balloon, while a metal toothpick can break glass and pierce up to four centimeters deep in raw pork from within five meters, according to tests by China Central Television (CCTV).

The tiny crossbows, ranging in price from 10 yuan (US$1.46) to more than 100 yuan, have been removed from Chinese online shopping platforms such as Taobao.com, after CCTV reported on Wednesday about their potential harm to children.

The Macao Judiciary Police on Wednesday issued a public statement advising schools to forbid students from carrying toothpick crossbows and parents to prevent their children from playing with the “weapons”.

However, Apple Daily reported that toothpick crossbows remain available in Hong Kong on some online sales platforms. Parents have raised concerns about the toys in various online parenting groups. 

Gilly Wong Fung-han, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council of Hong Kong, urged the Customs and Excise Department to take the initiative to stop retailers from selling the toys. The Customs department advised it would take action if necessary.

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