PHUKET TOWN: Municipal trash collectors on Thursday found two rounds for an M79 “bloop gun” wrapped in newspaper and dumped in trash. The 40mm rounds were discovered in front of the Phuket Bus Terminal. Sorn Damri, who found the two projectiles, said, “We stopped to pick up garbage in front of the bus terminal. That’s when I saw [the ammunition], already in the truck. So I called the police to come and take them away.” The M79 is a single-shot, shoulder-fired grenade or projectile launcher. Nicknamed the “bloop gun”, the close-support weapon looks like a large-bore sawn-off shotgun. It was introduced into service with the US Army in 1961. The discovery of the bloop gun rounds is the latest in a series of caches of weapons and ammunition that have been discovered recently in Thailand, apparently as people dump evidence in the wake of the War Against Dark Influences. An amnesty, with a deadline of December 15, allowing people to turn in illegal weapons without prosecution, has elicited almost no response so far, Pol Lt Col Chartchai Nikorthanon, Deputy Superintendent of Phuket Town, told the Gazette. He said he felt that the lack of incentive to turn in weapons was probably the reason. “The [owners] are not going to use [the weapons], but they will get nothing for turning them in. “If we were to announce that anyone surrendering a gun to the police would get money, I think more people would do so. Similarly, if we announced that people could register illegal guns, lots of people would come.” Those wishing to take advantage of the amnesty may surrender their weapons at any of Phuket’s three district offices at Phuket Town, Kathu and Thalang between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm on government working days, until December 15. Anyone with large stocks of weapons or explosives to surrender is asked to contact the relevant district office first so that officials can collect them.
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