Police seize 60 suspects in online ‘ghost guns’ sting

Mass shootings and gun violence are sweeping over Thailand as firearm misuse continues to make headlines every day. A nationwide sting has netted 61 suspects and seized 145 firearms together with almost 9,000 rounds of ammunition, part of a countrywide operation to stamp out the online illegal arms trade.

New national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas marked his first official day on the job on Saturday by announcing the results of “Ghost Guns Operation, Season 2“.

Gen Damrongsak said that there had been a rise in crime involving use of weapons, either to assault or threaten others, or as part of robberies. There was, he said, no fear of the law.

Police seize 60 suspects in online 'ghost guns' sting | News by Thaiger

Recent police investigations found that many guns used in crimes had been purchased online. The general cited a recent shootout at a restaurant in downtown Ubon Ratchathani, along with the accidental discharge of a student’s gun in class that killed a friend in Nonthaburi.

Ranked as Southeast Asia’s second most-dangerous country in terms of gun crime after the Philippines, Thailand recorded 2,351 firearms deaths in 2019 – approximately 31 percent higher than the numbers for Pakistan, a country routinely described as “war-torn” and alleged home of thousands of terrorists.

Officers from the CIB and the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) were sent to search 126 locations in 50 provinces in search of those involved in the illegal arms trade, said chief Damrongsak.

Over 60 suspects were detained. Eight were already wanted on illegal firearms warrants.

Officers seized 10,000 items, including 145 guns, 9,000 rounds of ammunition and various gun parts. Four of the seized firearms were assault weapons.

About one in ten people in Thailand legally own a gun. There are more than six million registered guns in thecountry with a population of 66.7 million. The total number of guns, both licit and illicit, held by Thai civilians in 2017 was 10,300,000, equating to 15.1 firearms per 100 inhabitants. Comparable figures for the other ASEAN nations are: Cambodia 4.5 per 100 inhabitants, Philippines 3.6, Singapore 0.3, and Vietnam 1.6.

Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, the CIB commissioner, said the investigations took several months as there are many networks selling firearms online.



Source Bangkok Post


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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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