Thursday, August 28, 2014

WEAK GUN LAWS NO DETERRENT FOR ARMS SMUGGLERS



Smuggled weapon confiscated by police in one of many cases
Ten years ago, sources close to  Chinese criminal  elements operating in Papua New Guinea alerted then  Commissioner  of  Internal Revenue Commission,   David Sode, of threats to  assassinate him.  Sode and  other government agencies were at the time investigating and clamping down on  a  string of  illegal activities  including the proliferation of  cheap gambling machines, lottery tickets and guns.
Weak gun laws offer no protection for ordinary Papua New Guineans
        Those who issued the threats were  arrested and deported  and within  months,  the illegal gaming machines were banned in Port Moresby and  the premises of operators raided.
 Government agencies responded quickly.
              While much of the focus was on illegal gaming machines  and lottery tickets, authorizes still had difficulty clamping down of the owners of illegal weapons.
                In a conversation  with  a senior government official, who cannot be named for security reasons,  he said one  of the men  who allegedly  issued  threats to the former IRC commissioner had “six licenses to kill. ”    All six gun licenses were seemingly legitimate  and were all signed by appropriate authorities.
                Back then, my  ignorance on  the  Firearms act  of 1978 prevented me from understanding that the  main reason  preventing severe action against importers of illegal weapons were  Papua New Guinea’s weak gun laws.
              Ten years on, the gun problem has surfaced yet again. This time with the appearance in a Lae  court  of a foreign   national who  allegedly smuggled in  M4 assault rifles and handguns.   
Police and customs officers dealing  with the case found  that Papua new Guinea’s  Firearms act  of 1978 has not proven to be a strong deterrent against  well financed gun importers who can easily pay the specified fine of K1500.  
               The head  of the  Police  Criminal  Investigation Directorate,   Donald Yamasombi,   has been trying to convince  key government agencies  and legislators  to amend gun laws to reflect  the changing  PNG  landscape. He  maintains the old gun laws do  little to help police deal with security issues in Papua New Guinea. 
               Earlier this year,  in Bogia,  Madang province, police intercepted  a small shipment of guns including M4 carbines commonly used by the US Navy Seals.   What  is worrying for police is the larger network of buyers in the highlands provinces   who are willing to pay up to K20,000 for  a weapon.

No comments:

Post a Comment