Police in Banteay Meanchey province yesterday torched 400 homemade guns, 24 crossbows and 360 “electro-fishing” kits, with most of the haul voluntarily surrendered by villagers.
Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Art Khem said the bonfire at Banteay Meanchey town’s provincial police station followed a recent police blitz encouraging people to turnover illegal arms and hunting equipment.
“This is part of our efforts to reduce crimes such as robbery, illegal hunting and illegal fishing, which lead to social problems and affect fish stocks and wildlife in Cambodia,” he said.
Khem said recent education drives about village safety and commune policy explained the large amount of weapons that were surrendered rather than seized.
Some 324 of the 400 rifles and 352 of the 360 electro-fishing devices were turned in, he said.
Last year, villagers from three districts in Kampong Thom province turned over more than 300 homemade guns under a similar local safety initiative.
Private gun ownership has been banned in Cambodia since 1999.
Under article 490 of the criminal code, carrying or transporting a weapon outside of the home is punishable by up to three years in prison and up to 6 million riel ($1,500) in fines.
A “weapon” refers to any gun that can be used to “kill or injure persons or damage property”.
Khem urged his subordinates to work together with villagers, social organisations and government bodies to better police communities and keep people safe.