Police in Preah Vihear yesterday burned nearly 1,600 homemade rifles confiscated from villagers around the province.
Preah Vihear provincial authorities said that officers collected the 1,574 DIY illegal weapons from “everywhere” across the province.
“Some villagers did not hand it over and we needed to seize them,” said provincial police chief Si Kiry. “The collecting and burning is for the purpose of abiding by the law, controlling weapons and also strengthening the village-community safety policy.”
Keo Chamroeun, the deputy provincial police chief, said that authorities had called on villagers to stop making weapons and warned them that homemade firearms would be confiscated.
“The weapons are illegal and are used by hunters to shoot wildlife, but sometimes they use it to shoot a person when they have an argument,” he said.
According to Chamroeun, provincial police have recorded cases of people being injured and killed by the weapons and are continuing to work on this issue.
Lor Chann, provincial coordinator for human rights group Adhoc, welcomed the measure but called for transparency.
“It’s a good action to crack down on weapons but please do it for all people equally,” he said. “Do not just get it from the people [the authorities] do not know and [avoid confiscating] from the ones they know or their relatives.”