Police in Rayong destroy thousands of guns
Thousands of guns seized by police were destroyed in a ceremony at a Millcon Steel Company facility in Rayong this week. The destruction marks the latest effort by the Royal Thai Police to enforce gun control in the country and combat illegal firearm possession.
The national police chief Pol. Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas and his deputy presided over the gun destruction ceremony. Both police officers have often been personally involved with high-profile cases involving gun violence.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for sweeping enforcement of firearm control and increased prevention of illegal gun possession in Thailand. But no specific recent case was mentioned as the cause for the ceremonial destruction of all the guns this week.
Various types of guns were destroyed during the event in Rayong, including pistols, revolvers, hunting rifles, shotguns, homemade guns and military-grade assault rifles. Some alarmingly powerful weapons were on display before their destruction including fully automatic Russian Kalashnikovs (AK) and American M16s/M4s.
The police report indicated a total of 20,735 items were destroyed, though it is unclear how many were guns as opposed to ammunition or other weapons.
The police chief confirmed that the Royal Thai Police are addressing all aspects of illegal gun possession and trading. Police are working to tackle the rising problem of online sales of guns and weapons through social media.
Improper gun control in Thailand has resulted in several high-profile cases over the last year that shocked the country and spurred calls for increased gun control enforcement.
Last week, Royal Thai Police Office commander Lt Gen Panya Pinsuk, was shot dead by his wife during a family argument in Bangkok. It is unclear why the police gun used was not secured.
An ex-police officer from Nong Bua Lamphu who was known to have problems with methamphetamine and behaviour issues killed over 30 children at a local kindergarten on October 6. At the time of the shooting, the officer was on trial for drug possession and had already been dismissed from the police force.
Despite this, his firearm had not been seized from him, and police never provided an explanation for why this was the case.
During a family party on August 6, a Phuket police officer left his 9mm pistol in an unlocked drawer. Tragically, a 7 year old girl was killed by her 9 year old cousin who found the gun and believed it was a toy. It is uncertain if any punishment was faced by the officer involved.
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