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Thaksin: Beware Illegal Arms Holders !

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Thai PM vows serious punishment for illegal arms holders after amnesty

BANGKOK : Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra warned on Tuesday, at the conclusion of an arms amnesty, that anyone found in possession of illegal weapons risked 20 years imprisonment.

Midnight on Monday marked the deadline for Thais keeping unregistered firearms to hand them in to authorities without penalty, after which Thaksin vowed to carry out a sweeping crackdown.

"People who still keep illegal weapons are thieves, and we will treat them like thieves," Thaksin told reporters two months after announcing the amnesty in mid-October.

"People who own these illegal weapons should receive a serious penalty - 20 years in jail," said the premier whose tough-on-crime approach is highly popular throughout Thailand. He added there would be no chance for appeal.

Provincial administration departments said more than 43,000 pistols, rifles and machine guns, and up to 50,000 rounds of ammunition had been handed in by December 14, newspapers reported.

The weapons programme was the second blanket arms amnesty of the year, the first coming ahead of a fresh crackdown on organised crime which began across the kingdom on July 1.

The government's earlier arms campaign followed its a brutal war on drugs which began on February and was declared a success by the government despite the deaths of thousands of people.

Pistols may be purchased legally in Thailand if a licence is first obtained from police. Individuals are not permitted to purchase other arms.

-- AFP 2003-12-16

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just two hours ago me and my boyfriend and our 10 dogs were shot at while we were walking around at a river in farmland nearby. First I thought the man is just banging in the air to scare the dogs away but then I saw him pointing his rifle in our direction and we heard the bullets going into bamboo close to us. My boyfriend was scared as can be and so we ran off. Now he wants to report to the police, he just went there and he wants to keep it anonymous but I'm still concerned that the man will know who complained about him. as he is obviously mad he might do something stupid again... :o

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