London, Europe Brief News – Amazon, eBay, Wish and AliExpress are under fire after an investigation found illegal weapons such as knives, swords and batons were being sold on the online platforms.
The UK’s consumer organisation Which? found that the illegal weapons were being sold by third-party sellers who came under different names.
UK law – including the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 – prohibits the sale of these weapons in the country and they cannot be owned in a household.
If a person were to be caught with illegal weapons, they could face arrest and a prison sentence.
“It is disturbing that our latest investigation has uncovered illegal weapons being sold on online marketplaces at extraordinarily cheap prices and that these tech firms are also pushing additional dangerous items to people,” said Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at Which?.
“This raises big question marks over the checks and monitoring being done by these platforms,” she added, urging online marketplaces need to take “more responsibility” and prevent illegal weapons from appearing on their sites.
Searching on Amazon, Which? discovered friction batons – which are illegal to buy and sell in the United Kingdom – were “masquerading as trekking poles” on the site.
According to the group, some of the listings used special characters, such as “bătõň,” in the title or only used the word baton in the artwork.
The consumer group said this was presumably to avoid detection by Amazon, while some of the images on the listings indicated that they could be used for self-defence and fighting.
On eBay, the investigation found illegal knuckle dusters, swords and Zombie knives and a 27-inch zombie blade. EBay’s terms and conditions state that none of these weapons should be sold on its platform.
Experts said on the website AliExpress, they found a “large number of flick knives, hidden blades, and a raft of ‘self-defence rings’” designed to be worn as knuckle dusters, priced at just £0.49 (€0.58).
On Wish, the consumer group found concealed blades and several belt buckle knives.