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246 firearms seized in smuggling attempts this year: customs service

All Headlines 09:57 October 10, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea foiled multiple attempts to smuggle a total of 246 firearms into the country in the first eight months of the year, a lawmaker said Monday, citing data from the related authorities.

It already marks the highest number of guns confiscated by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) in a year in the 2010s, according to Rep. Yun Ho-jung of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea.

The growth seems affected by a rising number of military goods enthusiasts, added Yun.

In South Korea, gun possession is outlawed except for soldiers, police officers and a small group of specially licensed people, although civilians are allowed to have air guns on a limited basis.

The KCS caught 180 firearms in 2015 alone, following 170 in 2014, 140 in 2013, 141 in 2012 and 160 in 2011.

This undated file photo shows firearms caught by the Korea Customs Service in smuggling attempts. (Yonhap)

What's troublesome is an increasing number of attempts to bring in gun parts through intentional mail and other delivery services for assembly here.

"The number of gun smuggling attempts is on the rise amid the spread of military mania, influenced by (relevant mobile) games and broadcasting, with direct purchase (of products from foreign countries) growing popular," the lawmaker said.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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