KUALA LUMPUR - Police in Malaysia are worried over how easy it is for anyone to learn how to make weapons such as air rifles, merely by referring to the Internet.
According to Crime Prevention Department director-commissioner Ayub Yaakob, it was worrying that anyone can learn how to make these guns at home using items available in hardware stores.
"No matter how much effort we put into monitoring our borders and making sure that no illegal gun enters our country, there are people sitting in front of their computers learning how to make one," he said yesterday.
With the current crackdown on gangland violence and tighter border controls, there may be an increase in the prevalence of homemade guns.
While not as lethal as real guns, the gas or spring-powered rifles can fire metal pellets at speeds of up to 380m per second, comparable to the projectile velocity from small-calibre guns.
Datuk Ayub said that while some people liked to own these guns, seeing them as toys, others had been known to make them for more sinister purposes.
"Gang members want them when they can't get their hands on real guns. There have been cases of homemade air guns being used in robberies," he said, adding that this was why police were trying to make sure the public understood that air guns were not toys but dangerous weapons.
Anyone having a homemade air gun in Malaysia can be charged with possessing fake weapons, an offence which carries a maximum jail term of one year and a fine.