UPDATE: See ’Arrest of New Zealand man for guns ‘overblown’
The man, Gareth Alan Davies, was taken into custody after officers raided his home in Moo 1, Kathu, this morning (Nov 7).
Officers found seven long-barreled firearms, including an AK and an M16, both described as weapons of war. A further 19 handguns were discovered along with what police described as 11 explosives and a large number of bullets of various sizes.
Davies was taken to Kathu Police Station for further questioning and to be charged with illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives, police said.
Present immediately after the raid was Region 8 Police Commander Pol Lt Gen Surapong Thanomjit along with Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew.
Lt Gen Surapong explained that the arrest followed a tip-off to police, obtained through a complaint filed with Phuket Provincial Court.
Davies, a retired mechanical engineer, sold the firearms and devices online, Lt Gen Surapong said.
“The person arrested was an engineer with knowledge of mechanics and could make certain devices, such as components of firearms and firearms that registrars will not issue a licence for,” he said.
“Seven of the rifles, the 19 handguns and some parts were made by the arrested himself, and there were five to six bombs that he [Davies] said they were just for his collection, but the accumulation of this many firearms is forbidden by law,” Lt Gen Surapong said.
Davies operated as an intermediary in weapons trade, often buying and selling items online, Lt Gen Surapong said.
A team of forensic investigations will inspect the house for evidence of whether the modification or production of any weapons was conducted on site, he said.
“It is believed to be because there is a silencer among the items found,” he said.
Davies had been living in Thailand for 23 years. Born in November 1959, he is to turn 63 years old on Wednesday, officers told The Phuket News.
He last entered Thailand through Suvarnabhumi Airport on Feb 11, 2010, and his most recent permit to stay was issued through the Phitsanulok Immigration Office, which allowed him to stay in Thailand until Nov 24, 2023.
Davies was not on any entry blacklist or watchIist, officers said.
He lived with his Thai wife, Pannee Chanbamrung for 20 years. Ms Pannee passed away when she was 60.
Davies had been left unable to walk without a brace following a motorcycle accident when he was young, officers explained.
Before his retirement about 10 years ago, he worked as a drilling rig engineer in Southern Thailand. The work, which involved scuba diving, had exacerbated his condition.
He received regular treatment at Bangkok Hospital Phuket, which had an ambulance pick him up and drop him off at his house, officers said.