Chechnya bans sale, possession of laser pointers

An attempt was made to blind the pilot of a landing aircraft at local Grozny airport.

Updated: Jul 05, 2011, 15:49 PM IST

Moscow: Russia`s Caucasus Republic of Chechnya has banned sale and possession of laser pointers with immediate effect after an attempt was made to blind the pilot of a landing aircraft at local Grozny airport.

Chechnya`s head Ramzan Kadyrov ordered the ban on sales of laser pointers in the republic after police yesterday detained a 17-year-old teenager who allegedly aimed a laser pointer at the cockpit almost blinding the pilot of a landing Airbus A320 passenger aircraft.

Similar attempts to blind the crews of landing aircraft have been made in many parts of the country, including Moscow.

"I am officially warning that the penalty will be severe. Any excuses that parents did not know what their child was doing will not be taken into account. What is the difference in how the lives of passengers are subjected to danger, whether it is a bullet from a rifle or a laser beam?," Kadyrov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Cheap Chinese made laser pointers are widely sold throughout Russia.

In a televised report, Chechnya`s Interior Minister General Alkhanov warned to equate the use of laser pointers against aircraft with an "act of terrorism" and with similar penalties.

In the latest incident pilots of two aircraft - a Tupolev and Boeing landing at Moscow`s Vnukovo airport - last night reported about green laser rays pointed into their cockpits, Mayak Radio reported.

The Russian media has reported over 30 similar incidents this year in Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Sochi airports raising the alarm among the aviation authorities over the increasing number of targeting landing aircraft`s pilots with laser pointers.

According to reports, a bill has been introduced in the State Duma (Lower House of Parliament) to declare the attempts to blind the pilots as a criminal offence carrying strict punishment.

PTI