Vietnam cops to mass produce fishnet launchers to catch traffic violators

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A gun-like fishnet launcher created by the Ministry of Defense's Weapon Design Institute for the Thanh Hoa Town Police Department.  Photo courtesy of the Thanh Hoa Police 

Thanh Hoa provincial authorities are working on a plan to mass produce the "fishnet launching tubes," which the local police started to use last April to catch illegal motorbike racers.

Colonel Le Van Nghiem, head of the Thanh Hoa Town police force, was quoted by Tuoi Tre in its Sunday news report as saying that his agency and the Weapon Design Institute under Ministry of Defense, which spent three months creating and testing the tubes, will copyright the product jointly.

The tubes can fling fishnets that weigh 0.25-0.3 kilograms and are 1-1.2 meters long a distance of 15 meters, compared to two to three meters that the nets can reach when thrown by hand.  

They weigh around 2.8-3 kilograms and are 50-55 centimeters long.

The fishnets will be aimed at the rear wheels of traffic violators to make the motorbikes stop gradually. They can be stuffed back into the tubes and reused if police miss the violating vehicles.  

The method of throwing the fishnets by hand gave violators time to escape, prompting the Thanh Hoa police to have the weapon institute make the tubes, according to the report.

It was first employed in October 2011, but the controversial measure was suspended March 2012 before being revised and reinstituted to combat illegal street racers at the end of last year.

According to The Weapon Design Institute, the use of fishnets to stop the violators "does not cause severe consequences" to them, while tests on many other tools such as spikes, oils, balls and automatic barriers all proved to be "unsafe" to both violators and other motorists who might happen to be nearby.

The institute said the use of guns that shoot paint is also "ineffective" since the police cannot catch the violators immediately and the latter would have time to clean the paint off before police tracked them down.

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Lieutenant Colonel Tran Xuan Khoa, head of the research team, said the fishnet launching tubes operate on the same principle as guns, but do not cause casualties or explosions.

Nghiem of the Thanh Hoa police force said his department will receive six more tubes at the end of this month.

They put the first five into use in late April after receiving approvals from provincial police and Ministry of Public Security, according to media reports.  

Thanh Hoa authorities said street racing has increased over the past several years in the north-central province, with groups of youngsters who do not wear helmet and perform tricks or race on the streets at night.

Many residents do not dare to go out at night and many racers have recklessly crashed into the traffic police when fleeing, the authorities said.

Between January and March of 2012, the police seized more than 200 motorbikes in illegal street races thanks to the use of the nets.

Illegal motorcycle races are common in Vietnam's large cities, where motorcycles remain the most popular form of transport.traffic.

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