Sihanoukville police get tough on gun dealers

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Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Major General Chuon Narin (centre) during the press conference on June 25. POLICE

The operation to crack down on illegal weapons in Preah Sihanouk province that began on June 15 has so far resulted in the arrest of six suspects and the seizure of 42 weapons, according to provincial police chief Major General Chuon Narin.

Narin told The Post on June 26 that police had confiscated two semi-automatic rifles, nine semi-automatic handguns and 31 homemade firearms – three rifles and 28 handguns – that used either live ammunition or rubber bullets.

He added that police had also seized two machines for producing bullets and many other weapons aside from guns.

He confirmed that the weapons were confiscated when the police conducted a raid on June 15 in Sihanoukville’s Commune IV and arrested six suspects who fired two shots at officers during the operation, one of which caused serious injury to the right leg of the Sihanoukville police chief.

"We will crack down on those who buy and sell weapons illegally, those who distribute and store illegal weapons and we will crack down on those who bring guns from [other] countries,” he said.

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Preah Sihanouk provincial police chief Major General Chuon Narin (centre) during the press conference on June 25. POLICE

He said the six suspects arrested on June 15 had a well-coordinated network. One was distributing rubber bullets and .380 calibre live ammunition and another had a complete set of tools to repair and modify guns. Cambodian law stipulates that only those who are licensed and registered with the authorities are permitted to be gunsmiths.

“We normally do not release this kind of information about planned crackdowns because the security of our operations can be comprised by leaking such details and it poses a danger to the lives of our officers. And if the suspects are made aware of our intentions, they will escape," he said during a press conference on June 25.

According to a report by the National Police, the suspect who fired the shots during the raid was a 30-year-old Vietnamese man named Huynh Minh Nhat.

Also arrested was his wife, a 24-year-old Vietnamese woman named Bui Quyng Thien, along with a third Vietnamese national, Dinh Thanh Xuyen, 25.

The other three suspects arrested were Cambodians: Bun Ratana, Yin Thara and Chhun Tith Bora, all of whom stand accused of dealing arms.