10 Jan 2012

Tonga's king blocks arms amendment act

9:03 pm on 10 January 2012

Tonga's King George Tupou V has blocked a move by Parliament to reduce penalties for possession of firearms offences.

Matangi Tonga reports the king notified Parliament that he had withheld his Royal Assent to legislation because he considered it to be against the welfare, well-being and safety of his subjects.

In October last year, Parliament by-passed public consultation on an amendment that reduces the penalty for the illegal possession of firearms from nearly $US3000 to just over $US500 and the imprisonment from five years to one year.

The move comes at a time when some MPs, including the Speaker, are facing charges under the act.