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Four men detained for homemade guns

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The Battambang Provincial Court has placed four suspects in pre-trial detention after they were arrested for allegedly making and possessing unpermitted weapons in Ota Nha village of Ta Kream commune in Banan district on March 27. Police

Four men detained for homemade guns

The Battambang Provincial Court has placed four suspects in pre-trial detention after they were arrested for allegedly making and possessing unpermitted weapons in Ota Nha village of Ta Kream commune in Banan district on March 27.

Provincial police’s minor crimes bureau chief Chhoeung Kimsong identified the four as San Reaksa, 26; Loeng Leng, 30; Chhoeung Sopheak, 26; and Nov Na, 25. All four are residents of Ta Kream commune’s Ta Ngen village.

“Investigating Judge Kim Heng has charged them with transporting weapons without authorisation under Article 490 of the Criminal Code,” he said.

The four face between six months and three years imprisonment and a fine of up to six million riel ($1,500) if found guilty.

Banan district police chief Tan Vanny said seven homemade weapons had been found and confiscated in the raid. He said the four men were often known to carry the weapons openly while roaming around the area in defiance of the government’s safe village-commune policy.

All four men are reportedly school dropouts and while there are no known instances of violence against other persons connected to their possession of these weapons, Vanny said they had used the weapons to hunt wildlife illegally. He said the presence of any illegal weapons contributed to public disorder.

“They’ve poached animals in the environment ministry’s protected forest areas without permission,” he said.

Vanny added that the presence of armed men frightened the villagers and that the weapons were powerful enough to kill people if they could kill animals.

A police officer in Battambang town who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the matter said some criminals in the area were also using homemade weapons now and causing social disorder in the town itself.

“I reported the case to the commune police, but nothing has been done about it yet. They carry these weapons while walking in the village and when people see them, they are understandably frightened,” he said.

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