A New Zealander was arrested by Thai police in Phuket on Monday after a large cache of firearms, ammunition and explosives was found in his house in the Kathu district.
The seized firearms included 19 handguns, seven long-barrelled rifles, including AK and M-16 assault rifles, and 11 hand grenades.
The suspect, identified as Gareth Alan Davies, was held in custody at Kathu District police station for questioning over the illegal possession of firearms.
Police said that Davies was formerly a mechanical engineer with knowledge in the production and modification of the components of firearms.
Pol Lt-Gen Surapong Thanomjit, commissioner of Region 8 Provincial Police Bureau and Phuket Governor Narong Woonsiew visited Davies’ house after the police raid, which is part of their crackdown on illegal firearms, following the mass shooting and stabbing at a child care centre in Nong Bua Lamphu Province on October 6th in which 36 people, mostly young children, and the perpetrator, a former police officer, died.
Pol Lt-Gen Surapong said that Davies’ house also serves as a workshop for producing and modifying firearms, adding that police do not believe in the suspect’s claim that he is just a gun collector, because there were so many firearms and explosives found in his possession.
Surapong also said that police will try to identify his connections, because it is suspected that the retired New Zealander might be involved in the online trade in firearms.
According to the police, Davies has been living in Thailand for 23 years. Before his retirement. about 10 years ago, he worked as a drilling rig engineer in southern Thailand. He last entered Thailand in 2010 and his permit allowing him to stay in the country is due to expire in November next year.
Source: Thai PBS World
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