Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

Weapons and rifle parts confiscated by Thai authorities last week believed to have been smuggled from Cambodia. National Police
Weapons and rifle parts confiscated by Thai authorities last week believed to have been smuggled from Cambodia. National Police

Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in the Kingdom.

Chhum Socheat, spokesperson for the ministry, said in a Facebook post on Thursday that those alleging that the weapons originated in Cambodia were distributing “fake news”.

A man, identified by Thai media as Chayut Prasertrit, was arrested near the Cambodian border in Thailand's Trat province and allegedly confessed to having smuggled the weapons from Cambodia to the neighbouring country for delivery to a client there. His vehicle was reported as bearing a Thai military sticker.

Among the weapons appear to be two Chinese-built Type-95 assault rifles, four completed M16s and numerous parts for building the latter.

Soldiers from the Prime Minister's Bodyguard Unit carrying Chinese-made Type-95 rifles in Phnom Penh.
Three men from the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit guard a street in Phnom Penh in 2014. AFP

Socheat said these weapons, reported as M16 and “TEPY” assault rifles by Cambodia’s National Police, did not exist in Cambodia.

“The spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defence would like to clarify to the public and the media that the news about these weapons transported from Cambodia territory is publication of fake (untrue) news without clear sources,” he wrote. “In Cambodia, there is no use of such types of weapons.”

But shooting ranges throughout Cambodia publicly offer civilians the opportunity to shoot M16s, and Type-95 assault rifles are carried by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit.

Koh Kong Province Police Chief Somkhit Vean, meanwhile, said the case was still under investigation.

If weapons were indeed smuggled from Cambodia, it would not be the first time. Last year saw a number of arrests of both Thai and Cambodian nationals in relation to cases of weapon smuggling between Cambodia and Thailand. Among those arrested was a first lieutenant at Cambodia's Ministry of Interior who is a relative by marriage of both Defence Minister Tea Banh and the former governor of Koh Kong.


  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol

  • Ministry to 'seek justice' for officials indicted in US for 'monkey smuggling'

    The Cambodian government and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said they will make the “utmost effort” to seek justice for a Cambodian official arrested in John F Kennedy International Airport in New York for allegedly conspiring to smuggle crab-eating macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis)