Factory tightens security after gun thefts
30 August 2005
BRUSSELS – A major Belgian arms manufacturer has pledged to tighten up security after finding that weapons and munitions have been illegally smuggled out of two of its factories.
On Tuesday, FN-Herstal, which makes small firearms like machine guns, rifles and handguns, said it had launched an investigation into how weapons were taken out of its Liege factory.
The announcement came after around 150 police officers carried out around 30 raids in Limbourg, Lamine, Liege and Verviers.
They seized nine handguns and 54 combat arms, including two of FN Herstal’s P90 handguns and nine of its Five-SeveN weapons.
Police also uncovered 2,100 cartridges for the P90s which are only made at FN’s factory in Zutendaal in Limbourg.
Robert Sauvage, a spokesman for FN Herstal, told La Libre Belgique that the police had visited its Liege site, but insisted no raids had been carried out at FN.
A total of 13 people were arrested during the raids, which came after months of investigations, said a police source.
Among those arrested was a security guard working for the firm Groupe 4 Securitas at the FN Zutendaal factory and a second worker employed at FN Herstal.
Sauvage said the police had not informed it as to the identity of the worker at Liege, but said he or she could face dismissal if found guilty of theft.
The company is still unsure how anyone smuggled weapons past security at FN, but inquiries are continuing. The breakdown in security has been traced to a final assembly line, however, Sauvage said the area was fitted with metal detectors and CCTV and that there was limited access to it.
“All the windows are fitted with grills and access is banned to anyone who doesn’t have a professional reason for being in the zone,” he said. “Now it’s impossible for any totally assembled arm to be taken out incognito from the company.”
Weapon parts are also scrupulously counted, he added.
“These are things which shouldn’t happen at FN-Herstal,” he said. “We’ll therefore be revising our whole security system.”
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news