It was completely by chance that Mandurah detective Tony Langer learned of the plight facing many people in rural Cambodia.
However, it always seemed to be his destiny to help.
A former member of the Police Bomb Squad, Det-Sgt Langer will make his 12th trip to the South Asian country in January as part of a wider program to help rid it of unexploded bombs dropped during the Vietnam War.
The 43-year-old became involved with the program after seeing a documentary showing Vietnam veterans donating mine detectors to people in the war-ravaged region.
‘‘They were doing it in their own time and paying for it with their own money, which really struck me,’’ Mr Langer said.
‘‘At the time, we’d just received a heap of new equipment at the Bomb Squad as part of the National Counter-Terrorism Plan.
‘‘So I thought ‘I’ve got all this other gear which is earmarked to be destroyed but is still really good quality, why don’t we donate it them?’
‘‘That was in 2009 and I’ve been going back ever since.’’
Working with the Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, Det-Stg Langer has donated equipment such as bomb suits, remote firing equipment and laptop computers.
In January, he will hand over diving equipment which will be used to help detect and destroy bombs dropped into the Mekong and Tonle Sap river systems.
‘‘The bombing data we’ve got from the United States shows that there were over 200 sunken barges in the river systems throughout Cambodia,’’ he said.
‘‘On those barges were huge amounts of unexploded ordinance.‘‘So you can imagine the impact that these sorts of things have, not just on the local fishing community but also there’s the possibility of extremist elements getting hold of it as well.’’
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.