23 Dec 2010

Tonga police launch gun amnesty

4:50 pm on 23 December 2010

Tonga police have announced a gun amnesty running through to the 21st of January next year.

Acting police commander Taniela Faletau says they are calling on people with illegal weapons and ammunition to take them into their local police station.

He says the first step is to surrender the guns and then applications can be made for licences.

Mr Faletau says the guns are typically smuggled in shipping containers.

He says guns are not often used by criminals in Tonga and it's a mystery to him why people have them.

"We have very little arms use in crimes but I don't understand why people require to be armed, in possession of weapons as such. We don't see any particular reason. The reason that is sometimes given is that they use it for hunting but as you know Tonga is not a very big place for wildlife as such."

Acting Tonga police commander, Taniela Faletau.

He says the firearms charges brought against two nobles, who are members of the new government, Lord Tu'iha'ateiho and Lord Tu'ilakepa, are not affected by the amnesty and will stand.