|Date: 2024-02-24 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00002689
Arms Trade, Society and Economy
Arms dealer who sold rifle used in Hungerford massacre jailed for trafficking deadly missiles
IMAGE Hungerford Massacre: policemen holding weapons used by Michael Ryan
The arms dealer who legally sold serial killer Michael Ryan the assault rifle used in the Hungerford massacre was jailed for three and a half years today for trafficking in deadly surface-to-air missiles.
Mick Ranger, 65, used an offshore company to ship scores of handheld infrared homing missiles from North Korea to Azerbaijan.
Ranger set up a firm in the name of his Vietnamese girlfriend in order to sell the weapons, known as Manpads, in a clandestine £13 million deal.
He also illegally exported 100,000 9mm Beretta automatic pistols from America to the former Soviet state in contravention of an arms embargo. The lethal weapons were shipped via his Hong Kong based firm Hong Kong Commercial (HKC) instead of his legitimate arms business, Imperial Defence Services (IDS). Azerbaijan is subject to the embargo due to on-going conflicts along its border with Armenia, though weapons can be sent there with relevant licences. In 2003 Ranger was revealed as the supplier to “Rambo” Ryan of a Chinese assault rifle used in the 1987 shooting spree that left 16 dead and 15 wounded in Hungerford. The Chinese Type 56 rifle - a copy of the Kalashnikov AK-47 - had been legally sold to Ryan by Ranger, who was the sole UK importer of the weapon, dealing directly with the manufacturer, Norinco. Jurors were not told of the connection during the trial but today returned guilty verdicts on all the arms trafficking charges brought against Ranger. Outside court Elspeth Pringle, Arms Brokering Lawyer for the CPS Central Fraud Division said: “Michael Ranger is an established international arms dealer who knew full well that a license for supplying weapons to Azerbaijan would be impossible to obtain. Accordingly, he tried to disguise his illegal dealings with false email accounts and by using a company registered in Hong Kong under the name of his girlfriend. “Ranger’s dealings with Azerbaijan were not only illegal, but potentially very dangerous. Arms embargos are in place for a reason and those who seek to ignore them in the hope of lining their own pocket should understand that they are liable to prosecution in the criminal courts.” Ranger, of Bishops Stortford, had denied two counts of being knowingly concerned in acts calculated to promote the supply or delivery of goods subject to trade controls with the intent to evade the prohibition, contrary to section 34(5) of the Export Control Order 2008.
20 July 2012
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