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Court charges senior military officers with gun trafficking

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Police in Battambang province found dozens of AK-47 assualt rifles hidden at a fruit plantation in Phnom Proek district on November 12. FACEBOOK

Court charges senior military officers with gun trafficking

Four of the six military officers arrested for arms trafficking were remanded into custody by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge on November 23, while the other two were still being questioned regarding the trafficking of over 100 weapons – including military-grade heavy weapons.

The weapons – and ammunition for them – were discovered stashed in Battambang province in October and November.

Municipal court spokesman Plang Sophal confirmed on November 23 that the four have been charged and are now awaiting trial.

“After investigating, the prosecutor charged them with the trafficking, export and stockpiling of weapons, explosives and ammunition without authorisation under articles 488 and 20 of the Law on the Management of Weapons, Explosives and Ammunition,” he said.

Sao Sokha, commander of the National Military Police, told The Post on November 22 that the gendarmerie had arrested six military officers on the court’s orders while another officer – whose identity has not been revealed – was detained by the National Police.

He said the six included a two-star Major General in charge of a weapon maintenance and repair workshop and a one-star Brigadier General who is the deputy commander at the workshop. Two other high-ranking officers – Lt Colonel and Captain – whose job at the workshop was repairing military-grade weapons were also charged.

The other two military officers charged were the deputy commander for the Kamrieng district Military Police and a warrant officer from the Phnom Proek district Military Police. Both districts are located in Battambang province.

According to Sokha, one suspect was arrested in Siem Reap province on November 19, two more on November 20 and 21 in Battambang and three others in Phnom Penh on November 22.

Sokha confirmed that the first incident related to this case was the ammo cache found in Kamrieng district on October 19.

The second incident was the stash of weapons found in Battambang province’s Phnom Proek district on November 12 and 13, where the Military Police confiscated 100 AK-47s, two 12.7mm heavy machine-guns and three M-79 grenade launchers.

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