Sat, Oct 24, 2015 - Page 6 News List

Palau devastated over first shooting death in 30 years

AFP, KOROR, Palau

The tiny Pacific nation of Palau is considering tightening gun laws after its first gun-related killing in three decades.

Palauan President Tommy Remengesau said the death of Koror resident Kenneth Koshiba had rocked the nation of 21,000, which boasts one of the world’s best underwater diving sites.

“I am shocked and it is unfortunate that things resorted to violence,” Remengesau told a press conference in the wake of the killing earlier this month.

Koshiba’s body was found on the street near a petrol station in Koror on the early hours of Oct. 11.

A post-mortem found the 37-year-old had been repeatedly shot with a gas-powered air rifle, and the pellets were lodged in his heart and spine.

Three men — Nicholas Kloulubak, Clifton Kloulubak and Michael Williams — were subsequently arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Palau already has strict controls on guns, with only the military and police allowed to possess regular firearms and ammunition.

However, air rifles like the one allegedly used to kill Koshiba are common for hunting small game.

After the killing, Paluan Senator Hokkons Baules put forward proposals to register all air rifles and ban anyone aged under 25 from owning them.

The last gun-related death on Palau was the 1988 suicide of former Palauan president Lazarus Salii, who shot himself in the head with a pistol.

The last gun-related killing was three years earlier, when Salii’s predecessor, former Palauan president Haruro Remeliick, was assassinated by at least two gunmen. The killers were never caught.

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