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Laser pen misusing to be charged with up to five years in prison in Britain

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-07-10 22:01

LONDON - The toughest ever law in Britain to crack down on people who pose danger with laser pens came into force Tuesday.

Under the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act, offenders will face much tougher penalties of up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the new law has been introduced by the government to protect air passengers and operators from growing concern of lasers.

The new rules are aimed at people who target vehicles including train, planes, cars and boats with lasers.

The DfT said police and law enforcement agencies now have more powers to catch and prosecute offenders as there is no longer a need to prove intention to endanger a vehicle.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said: "Lasers, used recklessly, can have very serious, potentially fatal consequences. The government has toughened up the law to crack down on this dangerous behavior."

Latest figures show the number of laser aviation incidents fell in March to the lowest levels since 2009.

Dr Rob Hunter, head of flight safety at BALPA, the professional association in Britain for air pilots, said: "This legislation removes the need for police officers to establish proof of intention to endanger so people will find it much harder to hide behind the claim they 'did it by accident'. It's not worth getting a criminal record for the sake of what is mistakenly believed to be a toy."

Laser pens, which cost just a few dollars, are mainly used by lecturers as pointers when giving lectures or presentations, but in the wrong hands they can be potentially dangerous.

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