MOSCOW, July 26 (Itar-Tass) —— The federal government and ministries are not considering restrictions on the selling of laser sources despite the numerous cases of pilot blinding with laser beams in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
“No such decision is being planned so far,” the vice-premier said.
Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko did not confirm the planned restrictions on the selling of laser pointers either. “I have no such information,” he told Itar-Tass.
Ivanov recalled through that a draft law punishing ‘laser beam’ hooliganism with up to ten years in prison was submitted to the State Duma on July 1.
It is proposed to amend the Criminal Code and the Criminal Code of Practice, which will punish an act of hooliganism with the use of a laser beam with three years in custody or a fine of up to 80,000 rubles; the blinding of a pilot with a laser beam with up to seven years in prison, and the crash of an aircraft resultant from the blinding of a pilot with a laser beam with up to ten years in prison.
“The government and the society cannot close the eyes to ‘pranks’ of overgrown children, who are playing with the lives of many people just for fun,” bill co-author, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Development Vladimir Pligin (United Russia) said.
Pligin called for the soonest approval of the bill and asked citizens to assist the police in the investigation of such cases.
The Rostov-on-Don police proposed a ban on selling high-power laser sources and the licensing of such gadgets on July 5.
Regional police chief Maj. Gen. Alexei Lapin proposed the measure at a conference discussing the prevention of laser beam attacks at aircraft crews.
Rostov policemen think it necessary to supplement the Administrative and Criminal Codes with the articles, which would tighten punishment for such crimes, from a fine to an imprisonment of up to ten years, Lapin said.
“The rate of such crimes will be growing in the geometric progression. To put it medical, we are witnessing an epidemic, which has not passed its peak. The decision must be immediate, because ‘laser hooligans’ endanger the security of flights and the lives of hundreds of passengers,” Lapin said.
A similar situation happened in Chechnya. “A pilot of a landing jet told the tower that he had seen a laser beam pointed at the cockpit. The Grozny district police found the perpetrator within an hour,” the republican police said.
The teenager born in the Petropavlovskaya village of the Grozny district in 1994 was warned that another attempt to blind the pilots of a landing aircraft would have the severest consequences for him. He said he bought a laser pointer a few days ago and promised to never touch it again.
Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov banned the selling of laser pointers in the republic in that connection.
Two attempts to blind pilots were made in Moscow last night. Both jets were landing at the Domodedovo Airport.
The first attempt was taken at about 11:30 p.m. on Monday and the second at 1:40 a.m. on Tuesday. The hooligans pointed the laser beams at the landing aircraft from western Moscow, somewhere on Kosygin Street or Leninsky Avenue.
From 30 to 50 cases of the sort have been registered in Russia since the second half of 2010, the Federal Air Transport Service said earlier.
“There were five incidents of the kind in the second half of 2010 and 30 in the beginning of this year. Most of the incidents happened around the Moscow Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo Airports and the Rostov-on-Don Airport. The source of the laser beam is yet unknown. The Service asks citizens to report any information, which will be helpful in the search for the perpetrators, by phone (499) 231-5914 or (499) 231-5411 or e-mail IBP2@scaa.ru,” the service noted.