By Emeka chiaghanam
A Chinese firm has developed a laser gun designed for police use that can set fire to protesters’ hair or banners from a range of almost one kilometre.
The new laser rifle will be used by anti-terrorism squads in the Chinese Armed Police, with prototypes of the device already being tested at the Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shaanxi province.
The general manager of the ZKZM Fibre Laser company, who asked to remain anonymous, said the weapon would “immediately” produce a “strong pain response” in the target but stressed it was designed to be “non-lethal”.
“The weapon is designed to do things such as setting fire to illegal banners at a protest or setting fire to the hair or clothing of a protester,” ” The unnamed researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences added: “If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire.”
“It is not designed explicitly for killing like a gun that uses bullets and cannot cause the ‘instant carbonisation’ of human skin and tissues,” the researcher said.
The 15-mm calibre weapon weighs three kilogrammes (6.6 pounds), has a range of 800 metres (2,600 feet) and can pass through glass and other transparent obstacles.
It can be mounted on cars, boats and planes, the firm said, adding that it was “seeking a partner that has a weapons production licence or a partner in the security or defence industry to start large-scale production.”