Bike Racers Being Reined In, Police Say

Police officers have responded to public complaints that they are not out on the streets at night to stop youths from racing motorbikes and disturbing the peace in central Vientiane.

Chief of the Commando Security Team at the Vientiane Police Headquarters, Lieutenant Colonel Khamphiew Vatthanaphone, said yesterday they wanted the public to know that they’re working on the problem every day, especially at weekends.

“Today we arrested some members of one group but by tomorrow there will be another group making trouble on the streets. There are always new groups that cause problems so when we arrest several of them and eventually release them later, they go straight back to doing the same thing,” he explained.

Lt Col Khamphiew said this was a chronic problem and, even if the police were able to track down and arrest a ringleader or two, within days there would be one or more new groups who would become equally disruptive.

The Commando Security Team said that last Saturday night they arrested a gang with 25 motorbikes who were making trouble along Lane Xang Avenue. The week before, they made similar arrests.

Most of the youngsters attend upper secondary schools in Vientiane, although some of them weren’t students and others were involved with drugs. After the arrests, their families were contacted and asked to take them home and keep them there for a few days.

Before they released them, the police spoke to them about the problems they were causing and the damage their behaviour was doing to society. They also asked the offenders’ parents to sign a release form stating that they would not do this again.

“Some people understand our situation but some won’t because they are just angry at the police and think we’re not trying to tackle the problem, while in fact we’re doing this every day,” said Lt Col Khamphiew.

He added that the family’s influence is key to helping the police to resolve the problem. He advised parents to spend more time with their children and listen to their problems, and not make them scared to talk.

The Commando Security Team also said that the bike gangs’ main gathering places appear to be much quieter now because many of them have moved on to other roads outside the city centre.

“We’ve sent our officers to find out which roads they’re racing on now as we think we have a workable plan to put a stop to the problem. However, we still need families and local authorities to work with us,” he added.

The Vientiane Police Headquarters recently dispatched the commando team to crack down on the gangs. They had received complaints from the public while the bikes were gunning down the streets and hoped that officers would arrive at the scene promptly and make arrests.

Source: Vientiane Times

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