SHAH ALAM - What began as a hobby for a food stall operator ended with him having to spend the rest of his life in prison.
His hobby of making home-made weapons was deemed "extremely dangerous" by the High Court, which also ordered that Abdul Wahab Mohammad Noor get eight strokes of the cane.
Wahab, 45, who has two wives and 11 children, made air rifles which used screws as bullets.
The trial heard that the weapons were subsequently sold to hunters, some of them government servants, for RM300 (S$121) each.
Wahab pleaded guilty to making the weapons, which he called air rifles, and having in his possession a fake Python 357 revolver and 810 screws which were used as bullets.
The weapons and "bullets" were found in his house in Paya Jaras Hilir, Petaling on April 2, 2009.
Wahab initially claimed trial to all charges, but changed his plea after nine witnesses testified.
Earlier in mitigation, Wahab's counsel, S.S. Ravichandren, said his client was running a small business selling nasi lemak and roti canai for breakfast.
"He started making the home-made air rifles as a hobby, but soon began getting orders from customers, including government servants who used the rifles to hunt birds, wild fowls and small animals."
From witnesses' testimonies, the lawyer said, there was no evidence to show that the rifles were used to harm humans.
"The court has the discretion to sentence him to death or jail for the rest of his natural life for making the rifles under the Firearms Act 1960," said Ravichandren.
"I urge the court to give him the jail term as he is not a threat to society. He will also stand a chance to apply for a pardon."
DPP Fazillah Begum Abdul Ghani, however, pressed for a heavy sentence due to the gravity of the offences.
"He may look like an ordinary person, but he is highly intelligent to make a rifle out of ordinary things. Once assembled, these weapons are dangerous," she said.
"I am not denying that these rifles were only used for hunting, but we cannot exclude evidence from the police armoury officer who had testified that these were dangerous weapons which could cause death."
Fazillah said Wahab was also found with a lighter which looked like a pistol and screws which were used as bullets.
"We also cannot deny that he was making an income from his hobby, selling each rifle at RM300.
"Although he is not a threat to society, making these air rifles which are easily available in the market is a national threat."
After passing sentence, Judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abd Razak told the accused that he was lucky not to be sent to the gallows.