23 November 2022

Man who rode Civic bus with fake gun on his hip told, 'We don't live in America'

| Albert McKnight

Kim Leang Liv was caught with two Glock-style gel blasters in Civic. Photos were tendered to the court.

A man who boarded a public bus with what appeared to be a real gun on his hip before walking around Civic has been told by a special magistrate, “We don’t live in America”.

Kim Leang Liv was caught with two Glock-style gel blasters in Canberra’s centre earlier this year and was hauled before Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter for sentencing on Monday (21 November), during which she rejected his claim that he didn’t appreciate he wasn’t allowed to carry such a weapon.

“We know in Australia we don’t carry guns,” she told the ACT Magistrates Court.

“We’re not in America and if he wants to carry guns maybe he should go there.

“[Guns] are very dangerous weapons and the fear they instil in people is significant.”

The court heard that when the 39-year-old jumped aboard an ACTION bus about 10 am on 16 September 2022, a young passenger thought she saw he had a handgun so she called police.

Liv got off at Marcus Clarke Street in Civic and police found him near Briscola Restaurant in Civic before telling him to stop, but he kept walking.

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Already worried he had a gun, they saw him reach into his pocket, so they tried to apprehend him but he resisted them. He told them, “I don’t even have anything.”

He was pulled to the ground while lashing out and kicking, during which time police saw a gun on his hip which they thought was genuine as it looked like a police-issue firearm.

They eventually arrested him and found a second Glock-style firearm tucked into the waistband of his jeans. Court documents say police thought he was trying to reach for a gun while they were arresting him.

While police originally thought the guns were real due to their appearance and weight, they were eventually found to be gel blasters.

Liv pleaded guilty to charges of unauthorised possession of a firearm and resisting a public official.

His lawyer, Ewan Small, said the Spence resident had been returning the guns to a friend and there was no suggestion he had the intent to use them.

“The friend shouldn’t have it either,” Special Magistrate Hunter remarked.

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Mr Small also said Liv had a long-term drug addiction, but the court heard he had apparently been clean for 12 months.

“Maybe he is trying to change his life around, but taking guns onto public buses is not a way of doing so,” the special magistrate said.

She said he had a “terrible” criminal history that spanned about two decades, including theft, assault and possessing an offensive weapon, which had seen him locked up in prison before.

Liv has already spent 67 days in custody since he was arrested. He was convicted and sentenced to a total of seven months’ jail, which will be suspended in February 2023 after he has served five months.

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