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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police seize 20 tons of weapons from ship on way to Vietnam

Police seize 20 tons of weapons from ship on way to Vietnam

Aship carrying 20 tons of weapons was detained at Dong Village Prek Phmeou

commune, Pomhea Leu district along the river from the Tonle Sap Reasmey

Kampuchea reported last week.

The ship Chau Giang Hai Phong was making a

return journey to Vietnam when it was stopped.

On its voyage to Phnom

Penh, it had carried spare engine parts and cement.

On its return, it was

laden with 300 tons of the old iron.

Upon inspection, police discovered

more than 20 tons of assorted used weapons including M-16s, B-40s and AK-47s,

with 20 percent of the weapons functional and the rest requiring minor

repairs.

Dam Van Viet, captain of the 19-man Vietnamese crew, claimed

that a company named Uy Sampromexim rented the ship for the Phnom Penh-Vietnam

journey for $10,000.

He said he was not aware that there were weapons on

board as he was not there when the cargo was loaded.

Uy Sampromexim is

owned by the wife of Uy Sambath, Vice Director of customs and former Minister of

Commerce.

Cambodia has vast supplies of used weapons which can be

purchased easily in the capital, one public market on the road to the airport

openly sells sophisticated armaments from many countries.

Weapons

shipments have previously been intercepted on the Thai border on their way to

arm Burmese rebels fighting the country's brutal military regime.

Western

observers were unable to speculate on the likely final destination of the

weapons seized on board the ship.

One analyst noted a certain irony in

the fact that while troups fighting in the northwest complained regularly about

inadequate arms supplies, such a large stockpile of hardware was headed for the

Vietnamese border.

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