Law-enforcement officials seized over 300 cars and fined a number of young motorists for taking part in highly dangerous and illegal forms of motor sports in the New Industrial Area early last Saturday morning.
Large crowds of mostly Qatari youths lined up a busy street in the Industrial Area cheering, booing and clapping those participating in what were competitive yet fatal shows of daredevil street racing and stunt driving.
It was Saturday morning and the dangerous events had begun a little after Friday midnight, continuing well after dawn. This wasn’t a one-off event. It had been going on for days in this fasting month of Ramadan.
But as the stunt performers from rival teams of young drivers were busy performing, with crowds madly applauding them, they were caught unawares, with fleets of public security vans cordoning off the entire area in a sudden swoop.
The Traffic Department led the crackdown that took the participants and the excited spectators by surprise. It was aided by personnel from internal security forces, Lekhwiya and Al Faza.
The dangerous shows came to a sudden stop and the cheering and jeering ceased, and neither the shocked spectators nor the participants had any escape routes as the entire area was literally sealed off.
The spectators had come over from different areas and they had parked their cars haphazardly and in violation of traffic rules.
The whole stretch of the arterial street in the New Industrial Area was being used as a venue for the dangerous motor sports, creating traffic snarls.
A number of trucks and cars were waiting in large queues for hours to cross the stretch, according to Al Sharq.
Some 300 cars and motorcycles, of stunt drivers and spectators, were seized by the law-enforcement agencies and many of the owners were fined on the spot.
Al Sharq said that such dangerous motor sporting events were held illegally in the Old Industrial Area in Ramadan, but this year they shifted venue to the New Industrial Area. Another worrying development this Ramadan was that “rival teams gathered” and they challenged one another in fatal competitions of car and motorcycle racing and stunts.
In the previous years, just stunt shows were held. People in the Qatari community have, meanwhile, expressed their happiness and lauded the Traffic Department, Al Faza and Lekhwiya for the crackdown, as evident from comments posted on local social networking sites.
“Punish the culprits in a way that it is a lesson for the youths not to indulge in such acts,” said a commentator. “Let it be an example. And keep the crackdown going.”
Another commentator urged the interior ministry to auction all the seized cars since they were used carelessly. There are many drug addicts in such events, he claimed. “And if there are any defence personnel involved, strip off their decorations and ranks.” But the comment upset at least one person who quipped: “Look guys, these cars and motorcycles are very expensive, so why do you want them to be auctioned?” He added: “It is the Traffic Department’s mistake. They were in a state of slumber and have woken up now”.
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