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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the