SINGAPORE - Tucked in a quiet unit in an industrial building in Geylang Lorong 21A is a shop whose products, at first glance, will inspire shock and awe.
Guns? In Singapore?
But if you talk to Mr Jimmy Low, you'd realise it's not really what you imagined.
Mr Low, 60, supplies realistic model firearms for television and movie productions.
Possibly the only local supplier of such props, he has an "arsenal" of more than 500 dummy guns - from pistols to long sniper rifles - in his shop, which is the size of a five-room flat.
He rents pistols at about $100 a day.
While these dummy guns are made of silicon and rubber, they look every bit the real McCoy, and are routinely used for close-up shots on screen. They are so realistic that Mr Low keeps a tight inventory.
"These props are not your usual toy guns. I have to make a police report should any of these go missing," he said. He also has to ensure that the guns are used only for legitimate filming purposes.
He said: "There was once an acquaintance who came by and joked about taking one of my prop guns to stage a robbery."
Mr Low was not amused and told the person to leave his office immediately.
He has good reason to do that. Under the Arms Offences Act, any person who commits, attempts to commit or abets in a crime with imitation arms in a manner likely to put any person in fear of death or hurt can be jailed up to 10 years and be given at least three strokes of the cane.
Mr Low's affinity with firearms started in the 1980s when he was a stunt director for the film industry and supplied real guns for productions.
In the 1990s, he saw a prominent Hong Kong actor playing with a real pistol in between sets and that prompted him to look into props.
He said: "The actor told me nonchalantly to give him a prop gun if I thought pointing a real gun at someone for fun was dangerous."
Mr Low spent the next three years perfecting his silicon moulding technique before he made his first dummy gun.
Being a gun enthusiast, he has a firearms permit and a collection of more than 200 guns - worth about $500,000 - that are modified to fire only blanks.
As his father owned a martial arts studio, Mr Low was exposed to the world of weaponry as a boy. Similarly, his son also shows an interest in guns.
But he is not sure if the 24-year-old will take over his collection and business.
He said with a chuckle: "If he is not interested, I'll sell all of them and travel around the world."
This article by The New Paper was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.
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