Proleung Khmer

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Who has guns?

The Cambodian National Assembly passed a law to limit the use and export of stockpiled guns and ammunition. The question is who has guns? Only the rich and powerful.


  • Cambodia passes bill to limit gun use, exports

    PHNOM PENH, Reuters

    Cambodia, regarded during the 1990s as one of southeast Asia's main sources of illegal weapons, passed a law on Tuesday to limit the use and export of stockpiled guns and ammunition.

    "Our weapons have been sold to some countries, which I do not want to identify," National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh told reporters after the Phnom Penh parliament passed the bill.

    "This law not only prevents domestic crimes which use weapons. It also prevents cross-border terrorist activity," he said.

    The law bans the distribution, trading or hiring of any of the tens of thousands of weapons and rounds of ammunition left behind by decades of civil war, dating back to the Khmer Rouge genocide in the 1970s.

    Most of the weapons are stockpiled in poorly guarded arms dumps similar to that which blew in March up near the western town of Battambang, killing five people.

    Security analysts say small arms from Cambodia have ended up in the hands of rebel groups such as Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers or Indonesia's Free Aceh Movement (GAM), although with the advent of peace, Cambodia's arms export days look to be over.

    "There's nothing going on now. I am fairly confident there is no large-scale gun-running," said David de Beer, head of a European Union-backed weapons control and destruction program in Phnom Penh.

    Ranariddh said the National Assembly would soon pass other laws relating to hostage-taking and bomb-making to bring the impoverished country into line with international anti-terrorist conventions.

    "Although there are always questions about implementation, all this shows the government is serious about increasing its security legislation," de Beer said.

    With EU backing, Cambodia has destroyed more than 150,000 weapons since 2001.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:23 AM  

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