Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gun Control on Target

Gun Control on Target

Gun Control on Target

In a move to curb the lawlessness born of over two decades of civil war and social

strife, the country's main factions, with the exception of the Khmer Rouge, have

agreed on a directive to control the possession of guns, ammunition and explosives.

The directive, which was introduced by the Chief of the United Nations Transitional

Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), Yasushi Akashi, requires owners of weapons to get

a licence from the police force of the relevant ruling faction.

Possession of weapons became illegal as of midnight Mar. 18, the U.N. spokesman Eric

Falt stated. But there would be a three week period of grace, until April 8 to allow

people either to surrender their weapons or to get their papers in order. "Until

that date no penalty will be incurred," he said.

Those who wish to surrender their arms should go to the local UNTAC CivPol or military

contingent where they will be given a receipt for their weapon and will face no legal

action, Falt said. Otherwise, people wishing to retain their arms should apply to

the police force of the relevant authorities for a firearms licence.

"Starting Apr. 9, any person found to hold illegally weapons, explosives or

ammunition would incur the confiscation of these items and imprisonment from six

months to three years," Falt said.

Despite the signing of the peace agreements and the deployment of over 20,000 U.N.

peacekeepers, most Cambodian families still feel threatened by the possibility of

military or bandit attack. And most homes have at least one weapon. Arms markets

exist throughout the country where readily available weapons exchange hands for reasonably

acceptable prices. Second hand AK-47 assault rifles sell for as little as U.S. $40.

Automatic pistols-less lethal but also less obvious and bulky-range from US$100 to

U.S. $200. And, for a few dollars more, one can have a grenade thrown in on top.

Head of UNTAC CivPol Brig. Gen. Klaas Roos has often stated that easy access to weapons

is a major factor aiding the rise in the country's crime problem.

SOC, FUNCINPEC and KPNLF police forces will keep a register of licensed weapons and

their owners, Falt said, adding that they as well as UNTAC would man checkpoints

looking for illegal weapons. "This greatly enhances the possibility of arresting

criminals and reducing the number of weapons in Cambodia," he said.

Falt acknowledged that any previous attempts at weapon control were inadequate.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in