A different kind of exotic hunt

A different kind of exotic hunt

This is a discussion on A different kind of exotic hunt within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...&feed=rss.news Cambodia's guns shoot for profit The government denies they exist, but private firing ranges cater to tourists in a country awash in arms from ...

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Thread: A different kind of exotic hunt

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    A different kind of exotic hunt

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    Cambodia's guns shoot for profit
    The government denies they exist, but private firing ranges cater to tourists in a country awash in arms from a violent past
    Carmen Gentile, Chronicle Foreign Service

    Thursday, February 15, 2007

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    (02-15) 04:00 PST Phnom Penh, Cambodia -- Lan Kosal smiled wryly as he broke down the cost of killing a cow with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. For $555, he said, a tourist at his Kambol Shooting Range can obliterate a bovine with a Soviet-era weapon designed to destroy tanks.

    The private range, just outside this capital city, is stocked with weapons from Cambodia's previous wars, ranging from World War II and the mid-1960s, when North Vietnam set up bases to launch attacks on U.S.-backed South Vietnam, to the early 1970s, when government troops fought North Vietnam and communist Khmer Rouge guerrillas. By the time the Khmer rebels seized control in 1975 and began a genocidal campaign that killed nearly 2 million people, the country was awash in weapons.

    Now, 30 years later, some of the weaponry that shaped Cambodia's violent past has surfaced in at least four Phnom Penh shooting ranges -- all owned by private entrepreneurs working with military partners.

    "You can't go anywhere in England and do something like this," said British tourist Tom Janson, who paid $30 to fire a Russian AK-47 assault rifle at cardboard targets emblazoned with a man's head and torso.

    Since the late 1990s, Cambodia has made a concerted effort to round up these war weapons. To date, the government has collected about 130,000 arms and destroyed 180,000 others, according to the most recent report by the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.

    Government officials repeatedly deny the existence of private shooting ranges, saying that they have been closed for a decade and that only the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense can legally operate such ventures.

    "All those places were closed down in 1997. ... (The government) canceled all the licenses provided to these private operations," said Khieu Sopheak, Interior Ministry spokesman.

    Killing live animal targets reportedly stopped in 2001 after King Sihanouk deemed the practice "un-Buddhist." Even the most recent edition of the Lonely Planet travel guide to Cambodia notes that state officials said "enough was enough," before closing the ranges since "they were no longer conducive to prompting the peaceful image the country has been cultivating after the fall of the Khmer Rouge."

    Yet some ranges are back, offering gun-curious and arms-enthusiast tourists the chance to fire assault rifles, handguns, grenade launchers, bazookas, even a Thompson machine gun made famous during the days of Al Capone and Prohibition. All prices are printed neatly on a laminated "menu."

    Lan notes that few foreigners are interested in firing bazookas at cows or tossing hand grenades at chickens, another grisly attraction he offers for $200. Most come for the opportunity just to fire a few dozen rounds from Cold War stalwart weapons such as the AK-47 -- a favorite among developing nations' armies, rebels and militias -- and the U.S. assault rifle, the M-16. Each is priced at $30 for a 30-round clip.

    Animal rights groups have vilified the ranges for offering animal targets. They compare the practice to controlled hunts of African fauna at private ranges -- an increasingly popular pastime in places likes Texas, according to Friends of Animals, an international animal rights group.

    "Promoting and profiting from this grotesque practice is a sign of Cambodia's ignorance of animal rights," said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals.

    Lan says the government is well aware of his business, allowing soldiers from a nearby army base to use the shooting range for target practice in the mornings. He also says he pays officials a percentage of profits, a claim denied by the government.

    Whether or not the government profits from tourists firing a few rounds or killing farm animals seems to be a minor concern for most Cambodians, who say they are grateful for the weapons- eradication program. Between 1994 and 2004, the use of firearms in violent crime declined from 80 percent of crimes involving weapons to 30 percent, according to the English-language newspaper Phnom Penh Post.

    But others see these shooting ranges as yet another example of lax law enforcement.

    "Foreigners firing these weapons undermines the law," said Prak Tepvichet, director of the Phnom Penh chapter of the international Working Group for Weapons Reduction.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!


  2. #2
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    Don't quite know what to say. I guess if there is a seller, a buyer will show up! Sad.
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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    Distinguished Member Array lowflyer's Avatar
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    Evil.
    Whatever doesn't kill you postpones the inevitable.

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    Senior Member Array mech1369dlw's Avatar
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    Lan notes that few foreigners are interested in firing bazookas at cows or tossing hand grenades at chickens,

    Now I know where Big Mac's and McNuggets come from.
    A person is justified in the use of deadly force, if such person reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to such person or a third person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    (SNIP)

    "You can't go anywhere in England and do something like this," said British tourist Tom Janson, who paid $30 to fire a Russian AK-47 assault rifle at cardboard targets emblazoned with a man's head and torso.

    (SNIP)
    ....sure you can do this anywhere in England.....it's just gonna cost you more since it's just as illegal as it is in Cambodia.
    USAF: Loving Our Obscene Amenities Since 1947

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    Member Array MD_Willington's Avatar
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    "Promoting and profiting from this grotesque practice is a sign of Cambodia's ignorance of animal rights," said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals.
    She should volunteer to stand between the shooter and the animal, in her heart she knows it is the right thing to do... LOL

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    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    This was going on when I was there in '99, not long after they started letting tourists back in.
    It was cheaper then, $100 for a cow. I didn't partake by the way, the 'range' I was aware of was near the killing fields at Choung Ek, just outside Phnom Penh. The area was littered with landmines and back then it wasn't advisable to walk on anything other than a path, road or in the steps of someone else.

    I was there a month, I made friends with a guy from Rwanda who had moved to Cambodia as it was a better place to bring up his family, I guess that is all relative. He had an old beat up Mercedes with UN license plates that came in very useful as a group of us drove around all night from nightclub to bar, PP is a 24 hour city, the Police roadblocks would demand bribes to let you through but waved us through as we were supposedly UN.

    I also took a 14 hour ride on the roof of a train for 50 cents, I had a seat but climbed out the window to the roof when the Buddhist monk sat next to me progressed to asking me incredibly articulate and deep questions about my soul.

    Cambodia, along with Nepal, Laos and Nicaragua has a special place in my heart.

    I once asked a young Cambodian why everyone is always smiling, quick as a flash he said "Well it cannot get any worse."
    Homegrown genocide, secret bombing from USA and a war with Viet Nam, there aren't a lot of old people in Cambodia.

    Sorry, I got a little carried away.

    Yes, they let you shoot cows. That is bad, but they are not like us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lowflyer View Post
    Evil.
    Less evil than the other evil things available over there.

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    VIP Member Array Tom G's Avatar
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    I wonder if we could send Jane Fonda over there to straighten things out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom G View Post
    I wonder if we could send Jane Fonda over there to straighten things out.
    Only if we could get her over there in a nice Holstein coat.
    There are over 550 million firearms in worldwide circulation. That's one firearm for every twelve people on the planet. The only question is: How do we arm the other 11? (Yuri Orlov [Nicolas Cage] Lord of War)

  11. #11
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nn View Post
    Less evil than the other evil things available over there.
    Absolutely. Things that only happen in the shadows of society here are freely available there.
    Fortunately there is a lot of cooperation between Police there and in USA/Europe. There have been some high profile arrests in the past few years.

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