Pindad guns, the Philippines and Mali

A couple of weeks back and I was filling up at the petrol station when this dude on a motorcycle turns up and starts to have a heated exchange with the petrol assistant. Although I’m not far from them, I can’t make out what the dispute is about. No big deal I think. They’ll soon be on their way. But I’m wrong. Cos in what seemed like a slow motion sequence from a shoot-out scene in a Quentin Tarantino film, the guy with the motorcycle suddenly pulls out a shooter from inside his jacket and starts waving it around like a right and utter lunatic. No one ducks or runs surprisingly - and the few onlookers just stand rooted to the spot in complete amazement. A few seconds pass, and cool as you like, the guy just gets back on his bike and roars off.

Naturally curious, I go up to the petrol assistant and ask him what the dispute was about.

“His fuel gage didn’t rise after he filled up. So he came back and told me I had cheated him.”



A few weeks later and the authorities in the Philippines have seized a haul of
Pindad made submachine guns. Actually not too many – only about five wooden crates worth; the other 15 boxes of guns had already been slipped out by the “syndicate”.

This has all the makings of a really juicy scandal of course, and quick to quell suggestions that the guns were smuggled to the Philippines,
Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono has stated that:

state-arms manufacturer PT Pindad has complied with all rules and regulations amid speculation that Indonesian weapons may have been smuggled into the Philippines.

And as for Pindad
, they claim some 100 of the SS1-VI rifles were on their way to the African country of Mali.

Yeah right.

But what is really interesting is that the British skipper (Bruce Jones) of the admittedly “aging” vessel has had to seek protection from the “syndicate”:

Somewhere in Bataan – The fugitive British captain of a cargo vessel seized by authorities for smuggling assault rifles worth P100 million into the country last week asked the (Philippines) government for protection, saying the syndicate behind the arms shipment is threatening him and his family.

Explaining that:

I was instructed several times by the unidentified ship owner to slow down and delay his time of arrival in the Port of Batangas Port for unknown reasons.

“I had then felt that something is unusual. Worse, three of our tanks, containing 37 tons each, had been filled with water so I suggested to my boss to have a dry dock and repair in Subic,” Jones said.

“This was my first time to handle the aging ship whose owner is still unknown to me, though he kept on calling me by phone only,” he said Jones.

Manila Bulletin

Pindad guns.
Makes you wonder who buys them, eh?

Another satisfied customer?


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