Soldiers Told to Obey Gun Law

Soldiers must turn in illegal weapons, follow gun laws, and make it easy for local officials to count their weapons in an upcoming census, the Ministry of De­fense has announced.

The directive, signed by RCAF Chief of General Staff Ke Kim Yan and dated Oct 16, was read on Apsara TV Monday night.

Commanders of military police and local militia are to collect all long guns and explosives and store them in their barracks “im­mediately.” The order also said that all RCAF soldiers are prohibited by law from carrying guns in Phnom Penh unless on a specific mission and are forbidden from using guns unless ordered.

Any RCAF soldiers, military police or local militia members that violate the order will be punished as stated in the law.

The order comes a week after   Phnom Penh announced plans to crack down on unregistered weapons by conducting a door-to-door census, checkpoints and a “buy-back” plan.

“The reason we are doing this is to restore soldiers’ discipline,” Deputy Chief of General Staff Pol Saroeun said. “If soldiers take their guns home, it doesn’t reflect well on those who are good soldiers.”

First Deputy Governor Chea Sophara said, “The order constitutes support for the municipality’s plan to legitimately conduct the gun search.”

Human rights workers and legal experts have raised questions about the city’s plan, warning search warrants from a court must be issued before any residential searches are conducted.


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