The stock of a plumbing device designed by Jiang. Photo: YouTube.

A court in China has reversed a court decision that saw six people jailed for three to 13 years in what became known as the “plumbing gun case.” A retrial has been ordered.

In March 2016, chickens belonging to a farmer in Fuyang, Anhui were shot dead using airsoft guns, replica weapons used in airsoft sports, prompting a nationwide investigation of online gun sellers. Jiang Jiping, the designer and manufacturer of a part for a toilet draining tool was pulled into the investigations.

Jiang had started the designs of his draining tool and had filed for patents at the end of 2015. Following investigations, he was arrested in April 2016.

According to court documents, Jiang was accused of selling his product as a firearm part to a customer surnamed Chan, who then used Jiang’s product in the assembly of airsoft weapons and sold them.

In September 2018, Jiang was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment after he was found guilty of illegally producing and dealing with firearms.

Jiang later filed to appeal the verdict. On March 13 this year, the high court in Anhui reverted the sentence and ordered a retrial of the case, stating that there was a lack of substantial evidence in the case and that a lot of variables of the case remained vague.

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