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The Philippines

Briton arrested in Philippines with cache of guns and knives

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 November, 2017, 6:14pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 November, 2017, 8:35pm

A British man has been arrested in the Philippines after police said they had found five handguns, live ammunition and other weapons including combat knives and a stun gun in his possession.

Matthew George Marney was photographed in custody wearing an orange T-shirt bearing the acronym for the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) – the primary investigation arm of the Philippine National Police force.

Officers were filmed by local media examining the pistols, which they said had been kept in foam-lined boxes.

Large, sheathed combat knives could also be seen on the table.

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Marney, 38, was arrested on Thursday with Filipino Romel Manas Castillo in Pasig, a city within the Metro Manila area, the CIDG said in a statement.

The pair were caught by the agency’s Anti-Transnational Crime Unit, which worked with a search warrant, the statement said.

It added officers had found five .45 calibre pistols with 25 bullets, 14 bladed weapons, five brass knuckles, one catapult, one stun gun, as well as a pistol cleaning kit and hostlers.

Inquest proceedings were filed on Friday at the Pasig City prosecutors’ office, the statement said.

Roque Merdegia, the CIDG’s Anti-Transnational Crime Unit Chief Police Superintendent, told The Guardian that the unit had received information from a tipster who reported seeing armed men in Marney’s residence. Authorities conducted surveillance and confirmed that Marney doesn’t have a licence to carry firearms in the country.

“We were surprised to discover five short firearms. That’s not normal,” Merdegia said.

Merdegia said it is a “priority” case and the police will be communicating with the local British embassy to check whether Marney has a criminal record.

The arrest was part of a police campaign to recover loose firearms amid fears of another terrorist attack in the country following a five-month-long battle with armed groups linked with Islamic State in the southern Philippines.

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“Right now, considering that there is martial law in Mindanao, it is quite alarming to arrest a foreign individual with a lot of firearms,” said Merdegia

On LinkedIn, a profile for a man called Matthew George Marney said he had moved to Manila in June 2015 to help “over 2,500 Middle Eastern investors to purchase off plan property in Manila as well as over 50 others to set up businesses in the best locations”.

The Guardian could not independently confirm whether the profile belonged to the same person, although it was the only searchable page sharing his full name.

Anyone caught possessing a gun without a licence in the Philippines can be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison, according to a law passed in 2013.