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Tasers on sale in Vientiane markets
Publication Date : 04-03-2013
Vientiane police have warned that individuals or organisations who illegally possess or distribute tasers may be subject to a lawsuit as the device is classified as an offensive weapon.
A senior police official gave the warning when talking with Vientiane Times on Thursday about the sale of tasers at markets in the city.
“Because a taser is an offensive weapon, an individual or groups of people who illegally possess or distribute them may be put on trial,” said the commander of the Vientiane Police Department, Police Brigadier General Bounxou Nammachak.
A taser is an electroshock weapon. It uses electrical current to disrupt the voluntary control of muscles causing neuromuscular incapacitation.
Members of the public have voiced concern about the availability of the weapon, while some said there were instances of them being used by robbers. However, there have been no official reports of such incidents.
Brig Gen Bounxou said he has ordered police teams to inspect the city's markets.
After hearing the concerns of members of the public, the Vientiane Times visited a popular market in Vientiane and found that the weapons were indeed available. The vendor said they sold tasers clandestinely for 400,000 to 500,000 kip (US$50 to $63) each.
“We show only the boxes, because if the police see any tasers they will confiscate them,” an assistant at a foreign-owned shop said.
Brig Gen Bounxou said the sale and purchase of the device is prohibited. He said his department will be holding discussions with trade and customs officials to find out how the tasers managed to enter the country in the first place.
He called on members of the public to participate in the monitoring of activities relating to the illegal possession and distribution of such devices.