Friday, August 18, 2017

Police offer weapons amnesty after raids

Police are offering a weapons amnesty in the wake of a combined police and military raid on a Mandalay sweet shop run by twin brothers who were arrested in possession of large quantities of firearms.

Anyone who has unlicensed weapons is invited to hand them in to the police or designated offices of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and will escape charges.

Those who fail to do so risk years in prison if they are subsequently caught.

Acting on a tip, police seized sniper rifles, double-barrelled shotguns, walkie-talkies and amphetamine tablets in a Toyota Land Cruiser belonging to twin brothers on June 26.

The two, who run a pharmacy in Mandalay’s Chan Aye Thar San township, were driving from Singu to Shwebo, Sagaing Region.

Police and soldiers then raided a snacks and confectionery shop, Aung Store, owned by the brothers the following day, discovering guns and more than 40 kinds of firearm-related materiel.

The brothers have been charged with possessing drugs, carrying weapons and illegally using a walkie-talkie.

Based on information gained during interrogation of the pair, a team led by Police Captain Lwin Oo staged a raid in Yangon’s Hlaing Estate, in Hlaing township, seizing one air rifle, a German-made air pistol, a gun barrel, various kinds of bullets, gun-cleaning equipment, and related materials.

They arrested the male owner of the property, who manages a pharmaceutical company, according to Yangon Western district police office.

Yangon Region Police Major Pyae Sone told The Myanmar Times yesterday, “We are not in a position to comment regarding an ongoing CID investigation into illegal weapons. The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced in the state-owned media that people in possession of weapons should hand them in.”

Police Captain Thi Thi Myint said, “The ministry last year asked holders of licensed weapons to extend the licence, or surrender the weapons. Following the discovery of illegal arms in Yangon and Mandalay, the ministry is reaffirming its request. We will take action against people illegally possessing weapons.”

Anyone convicted of illegal arms possession could face up to seven years in jail, including three years’ hard labour.

“This is really worrying,” said U Aye Myint, a resident of Mingalar Taung Nyunt township.

“Last year, large numbers of air guns were seized in Tarmwe township,” he said.

“Luckily the police found them in time. People are wondering how these guns came into the country.”

Translation by Khant Lin Oo