Custom officers at Vietnam’s Tan Son Nhat Airport made a shocking discovery last Friday when they conducted a random shipment inspection on a flight from Turkey – 100 guns and hundreds of ammunition cartridges were retrieved from a large box on board the flight from Turkey, sending officials and staff at the airport into a state of alarm.
Vietnamese customs officials at first thought that they had chanced upon one of the largest arms smuggling deals in the nation’s history and began investigations immediately.
However, they soon discovered that the guns had in fact been wrongly delivered to Vietnam while in transit from Turkey – their original recipient? The Singapore Police Force.
“Police confirm that a consignment of firearms ordered by the SPF was mistakenly delivered to Vietnam by the freight company involved,” an SPF spokesman told the media yesterday.
“The manufacturer and freight company are working with the Vietnamese authorities to reroute the shipment to Singapore.”
She added that it is unclear if this is the first time such a mix-up has occurred, and that the “wrong delivery is attributed to the actions of the manufacturer and the freight company and not SPF”.
Vietnam officials, though relieved that the security scare was a false alarm, are no less puzzled as to how the guns ended up in their hands if they had been originally bound for Singapore.
According to Ho Chi Minh City’s police news notices, the pistols were purchased by their Singaporean counterparts from a Czech manufacturer, Ceska Zbrojovka.
All 94 guns found in the cardboard box seized were CZ P-07 pistols – the “latest high-capacity service pistols” produced by the brand, created primarily for use in the armed forces.
The 472 gun magazines in the consignment were all empty, reported Vietnam’s Thanh Nien News.
Another Vietnamese news site, Tuoi Tre News, reported that the shipment was coded ‘SG’, and speculated that cargo loaders could have mistaken that to mean Saigon – Ho Chi Minh City’s former name.
Authorities from Turkey, Singapore and Vietnam are working together to have the guns delivered to their rightful owners.