Police seize more than 70 guns over licensing problems
The National Shooting Centre and two armouries here were closed after the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department found serious licensing irregularities there.
It conducted an arms audit at the armouries of the Singapore Gun Club (SGC) and the Singapore Rifle Association (SRA) on Tuesday.
It is believed that a total of 77 weapons were flagged and confiscated by the police during the regular audit, Singapore Shooting Association (SSA) president Michael Vaz, told The New Paper on Sunday (TNPS).
Two weapons had expired licences and came from SGC's armoury. One was a shotgun that belonged to a national serviceman who had left the club and the other was a firearm from Safra.
But it was the other 75 weapons from SRA that raised eyebrows.
Mr Vaz, who is also the president of the SGC, said: "While there is no public safety risk, this is still unheard of. To have 75 weapons confiscated is very serious."
He could not explain why the 75 weapons were taken away and told TNPS he was unable to contact the SRA for an explanation.
TNPS could not reach the SRA for comment yesterday.
Such police audits happen biannually and an average of three to four weapons are flagged each time for expired licences.
This could be due to the gun owners dying, quitting the clubs or leaving Singapore.
These guns, which are technically unlicensed, will either be sold to other members or surrendered to the police for destruction, Mr Vaz explained.
A police spokesman confirmed the arms seizure and said investigations were ongoing.
Because of the confiscation, SportSG closed the National Shooting Centre at Old Choa Chu Kang Road yesterday and placed a sign at its entrance that said the facility was undergoing infrastructure works to enhance the security of the ranges.
Its spokesman told TNPS: "SportSG has asked the SSA to implement measures to correct the situation before opening up for public use. National shooters will not be affected by the closure."
TNPS understands the decision to close the facility came from the sports body rather than the police.
Without the correct licences, it constitutes unlawful possession of firearms, which is very serious, explained retired police officer Lionel de Souza, 73.
In today's context of terrrorist fears, if the clubs are lax, the risk of weapons falling into the wrong hands is real, he said.
"Licences are given to people of good character," he said.
"They (the clubs) have to keep a proper inventory."