The Interior Ministry will cooperate with Vietnamese police to find the source of firearms that a Chinese fugitive attempted to smuggle from Cambodia to Vietnam, a ministry official said Wednesday.
Vietnam’s Thanh Nien News Agency reported Tuesday that Lian Shao Ming was arrested on March 15 in Tay Ninh province—which abuts Cambodia’s Svay Rieng and Kompong Cham provinces—as he prepared to receive a pair of Beretta pistols that he had paid a courier to transport across the border.
According to the news report, Mr. Lian met an arms dealer in Cambodia on March 14 and purchased the pistols for $1,000 each, along with $400 worth of ammunition, with the intention of selling them in Vietnam at a profit. Private trading of guns is illegal in Cambodia.
“We need to investigate this case,” said Chay Sinarith, director of the Interior Ministry’s internal security department. “I will contact the Vietnamese police and we will cooperate to find the…handgun sellers in Cambodia.”
Major General Sinarith said Cambodian police had not been aware of the arrest prior to being notified by reporters Wednesday.
Thanh Nien News reported that Mr. Lian had since 2001 been living in Ho Chi Minh City—under the alias Tranh Thien Minh —where he allegedly fled after committing murder in China’s southern Guangdong province.
In Vietnam, he stands charged with trading in military weapons, and faces between five and 12 years in prison if found guilty, according to the news agency.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh could not be reached for comment.