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Army wants guns back from forestry department

The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department has expressed concern and disappointment at being asked to return 400 automatic rifles to the Army.

The guns had been on loan to forestry officers but the Army now wants them back for field use in the deep South.

The department’s director-general Damrong Phidet said the Army recently sent a letter ordering the return of the HK33 rifles.

The guns, used at 143 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, are to be returned next month.

Damrong said the department had replied with a letter asking to be allowed to use the guns for an extended period.

Forestry officers need the weapons to defend themselves against illegal logging gangs, hunters and wildlife traffickers, he said.

The guns help them patrol forests, especially in border areas with Burma and Cambodia, he said.

“Forestry officers are wounded or killed in clashes with gangs almost every month,” he warned. “Eight officers have died while on duty so far this year.”

Damrong said each of the parks and sanctuaries have an average of 150 officers but each site had only three guns.

When a team of 7-10 officers goes on patrol, it has only one HK33 and two shotguns.

“We now go on patrol with apprehension. Without the rifles it would be much harder,” he said.

Damrong said the department has been unable to buy or own its own weapons because it had a limited budget.

Most of its money had been spent on forestry works as so many areas are continually damaged by tourism.

Sorce: The Nation
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/08/28/national/national_30012140.php

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Filed under: cut and paste from somewhere else, Security, Uncategorized

One Response

  1. chuts says:

    Manager says Army General Sondhi mentioned the army needs more weapon and it is likely the recalled items will not be returned for loan this year.

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