Dubai: Dangerous laser devices with a range of several miles and capable of blinding pilots are being sold in Dubai for as little as Dh40.
The green beams have targeted passenger planes flying near airports in several countries. The sharp light can cause sight problems, dizziness, confusion and headache.
The handheld pointers have also been used to dazzle motorists, athletes and entertainers performing on stage.
Some youth in Abu Dhabi have also been arrested for using lasers to disorient helicopter pilots flying above residential areas over the years.
The potentially dangerous lasers have been banned in many countries following reports of near accidents and eye damage after exposure to them.
Health experts in the West have warned against lasers that are more than one milli-Watts (mW)strong — but 500mW lasers are selling in Dubai and on UAE-based shopping websites.
Some shops in Dragon Mart sell the lasers for Dh40-Dh80. They are kept hidden from view and sold in under-the-counter deals. One storekeeper there offered a laser with a "10km-range" that can "make a line at night."
An internet search for the controversial product in the UAE reveals an online market for such lasers on popular local shopping sites.
A Dubai-based account was taking bids of up to Dh420 for a "powerful green laser" that can "draw a line in the sky" and be used for "military sights." A note added "it's not allowed 2 sell it here."
Meanwhile, "deadbody" from Abu Dhabi was selling "an extremely bright green laser" with a 12,000-foot range. And "Wawery" in Ras Al Khaimah was asking Dh500 for a laser before it was sold out through bids online. The post warned it could cause "permanent eye damage" and asked buyers to "never expose your eyes or anyone else to the laser beam."
Reports citing UAE officials have said that the "illegal use" of the lasers can lead to fines and jail time.
Following a spate of laser "attacks" in the US, pilots have to report such incidents to aviation authorities so local police and federal agents can investigate.
- 40 to 80 dirhams: the price of lasers at Dragon mart