Government fails to stop arms sold over the internet

The government has admitted it deploys no dedicated customs officials to try and prevent the sale of illegal arms over the internet.

The government has admitted it deploys no dedicated customs officials to try and prevent the sale of illegal arms over the internet.

In a report on arms exports, the House of Commons Quadripartite Committee said, “The government's response to the challenge of the internet as an arms emporium is too passive and fails to take account of the role it now plays in promoting and facilitating commerce and exports across the world.”

The committee of MPs praised comedian Mark Thomas for finding evidence of stun batons being sold through websites in the UK.

Thomas told the MPs about a UK website offering introductions to Chinese and Korean arms manufacturers, who had advertised stun batons through another UK website.

The report also mentioned that another UK website was selling stun batons and stun guns.

But when the MPs asked trade minister Malcolm Wicks about the problem, he admitted that there were no officials at the Export Control Organisation dedicated to checking what was for sale on the internet, to check for any rules being broken.

 

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