Toothpick crossbow craze has China parents quivering

Remigio Civitarese
Giugno 22, 2017

In China's south-west city Chengdu, for instance, the police have reportedly banned sales of the toy. Parents in Hong Kong, the semi-autonomous state under the "one country, two systems" principle, have also raised an alarm.

South China Morning Post reports some of the packaging on these toys claims it is powerful enough to "break paper cartons, cans and even fight cockroaches", while stressing it is "not lethal".

The so-called toothpick crossbows were originally created to shoot out only toothpicks, as its name suggests.

"The "Toothpick Crossbow" toy has spread across China like wildfire among the nation's primary and middle school children", said the Shanghai Daily. Besides, the toy can transform into a risky weapon if the toothpicks are swapped for nails and needles. Some shopkeepers were struggling to meet the soaring demand for the toy, the publication added.

The small crossbows come as a cheap plastic version for about four yuan (£0.5; $0.6) while the metal versions of the mini weapon cost around 10 yuan.

Reacting to criticism from parents, the country's leading online platforms and have said they won't allow the toys to be sold any more. But it is still available for sales in other websites like, also owned by Alibaba, BBC reported.

Handheld crossbows that can fire out needles and nails are the latest must-have toy in China but anxious parents want them banned before a young child gets blinded or worse.

This photo taken on June 20, 2017 shows a man demonstrating a toothpick crossbow in Changchun, in China's northeast Jilin province. "Hurry up (and ban them), pupils do not understand the consequences of playing with this toy that can cause accidents sooner or later", wrote a parent on the site.

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