A woman in Paphos who ordered a BB gun for her teenage son has been questioned by police, after customs officers suspected a package that arrived from overseas contained what appeared to be a prohibited weapon.
Local media said customs officials in Paphos notified law enforcement authorities on Tuesday after a foreign woman described as a permanent resident went to pick up a package from Hong Kong in the early afternoon.
Upon inspecting the contents of the package, officials found that it contained what appeared to be an airsoft gun but they were unsure of its exact type or whether it was prohibited in the Republic of Cyprus.
Airsoft guns from third countries have been problematic in Cyprus, with many bloggers pointing to a legal grey area and authorities looking out for anything that could be lethal
Police officers were called to the Post Office where they collected the item in question for further testing. The woman was not arrested but was questioned by police.
The air gun was understood to be a non-firearm device that uses compressed air to fire 6mm airsoft pellets made of plastic.
But according to Paphos police director Michalis Nicolaou, the maximum permitted diameter for the specific type of air guns is 4.5mm.
“This is not even an air gun and the non-firearm category doesn’t say much,” Nicolaou told Knews.
Nicolaou, who appeared concerned over the item, went on to say that tests were being carried out to determine the exact type but suggested the device in question was prohibited and could be lethal.
But airsoft guns from third countries, especially Asian, have been problematic in Cyprus, with many bloggers pointing to a grey area in the legislation.
Some comments on forums dedicated to gun enthusiasts suggested it may be up to the inspecting customs official to declare whether an air gun ought to fall in the toy category or be subject to firearm legislation.
But critics argue certain guns that are exact replicas are not justified even for a hobby.
“This air gun is still potentially quite lethal,” Nicolaou said, adding that the mother explained to authorities that she went online and made the order for her son.
“We believe her, it was all paid for and shipped normally but it is up to the recipient to know about laws and regulations,” he added.