China’s police and military are eyeing a newly developed “laser gun” that burns protest banners and/or signs and set protesters on fire.
The South China Morning Post reports that the gun “produces an energy beam that cannot be seen by the naked eye but can pass through windows.” A unidentified scientist said the gun’s beam can “burn through clothes in a split second … If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire.”
The weapon was developed at the Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shaanxi province. The prototype is a 15mm rifle which weighs just over 6 pounds. It has an effective range of roughly half a mile and “could be mounted on cars, boats and planes.”
The gun is called the ZKZM-500 laser assault rifle.
AFP reports that the general manager of the company that developed the weapon says it is intended as an option to lethal force.
The manager said, “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. It is not designed explicitly for killing like a gun that uses bullets and cannot cause the ‘instant carbonization’ of human skin and tissues.”
He confirmed that his company is working on a laser that will go to the next level, providing lethal options for police agencies.
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