Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Misused guns will be traced: top military cop

Misused guns will be traced: top military cop

A four-wheel drive with RCAF number plates travels through the streets of Phnom Penh yesterday. Sao Sokha yesterday called for renewed efforts in cracking down on military number plates.
A four-wheel drive with RCAF number plates travels through the streets of Phnom Penh yesterday. Sao Sokha yesterday called for renewed efforts in cracking down on military number plates.

Misused guns will be traced: top military cop

Amid an ongoing spate of gun crime nationwide, military police commander Sao Sokha has threatened that officials who sign off on weapons for subordinates will face jail time if those firearms are subsequently involved in illegal activities.

Addressing senior military officials in Phnom Penh on Monday, Sokha took aim at those requesting weapons for security force members not on official assignments.

“I want to ask you to use the legal measures regarding the use of weapons,” he said. “If we can’t control weapons, we can’t control insecurity and then insecurity will take place,” he added.

Sokha went on to threaten to investigate and prosecute any officials who signed out weapons later involved in crime.

Earlier this month, Interior Minister Sar Kheng had pointed a finger at a “loosening” of gun control, while Thun Samorn, director of the ministry’s department of weapons, admitted some ministers had as many as three guns, the purpose of which the ministry could not explain.

San Chey, of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific, said that much stricter reforms were needed to prevent off-duty incidents involving members of the armed services.

“We have seen there are still armed forces using weapons to shoot innocent people,” he said. “They can use their connection to power to shoot people freely.”

Sokha’s Monday directive came on the heels of recent comments he made on another abuse of power that’s made headlines in the past year: the illegal use of RCAF licence plates.

At a meeting last week, Sokha called on security officials to be tougher on forged plates he said were all too common, saying they should impound the vehicles, which would then be claimed as state property.

A driver for a foreign businessman in Phnom Penh, whose vehicle sported a RCAF number plate, yesterday told a Post reporter that despite neither he nor his boss being a member of RCAF, his plate was legit.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he claimed he had purchased it from a source at the Defence Ministry.

“In our country, when police see we drive a car with RCAF licence plates, they show respect and do not want to get tough,” he said.

Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said he had not heard of any cases of non-military personnel purchasing plates from the Defence Ministry and reiterated Sokha’s stance that cars bearing RCAF plates would be checked to determined if they were fake.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Protests planned in New York as Hun Sen to attend the UN

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. But US-based supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) plan to throw eggs at his car as part of a series of protests to coincide

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune