Chuukese man first to be tried for laser pointer attack on a plane in FSM

I thought of sharing this news clipping although it was originally published in Kaselehie Press/Pacnews for all viewers to make their own comments.
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CHUUK (Kaselehie Press/Pacnews) The Federated States of Micronesia’s Department of Justice has charged Isak Rawit of Chuuk for pointing a laser pointer at an aircraft operating within FSM’s jurisdiction.

The FSM Department of Justice is asking for the maximum penalty of five years in prison and $10,000 fine for each offense if he is convicted.

This is the first prosecution for pointing a laser pointer at a plane since the FSM passed a law banning it. United Airlines pilots, Captain Kidder and Captain Falsani, reported that at approximately 9:40 p.m. on Oct. 29 and again at 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 30, they were attacked by a green laser light during flights. The pilots reported the coordinates of the origin of the laser beam as being in waters off Ruo in Chuuk State.

Four fishermen told national police that they were fishing in those waters at those times and saw a green laser beam shooting from a boat near them.

Through investigation, national police learned that Isak Rawit was fishing in those waters on that night and that he owned a laser pointer with red and green lights.

The laser pointer is similar to military grade laser pointers used to aid in sighting targets. Police investigation report said the laser pointer used was six inches long that had flashlight mode.

In FSM, it is not a crime to own that type of laser pointer, but it is a crime to point it at an aircraft.

Rawit told police that he and five other men were spear fishing in waters off Ruo and admitted that each time he saw the United Airlines plane pass overhead, he took his laser pointer out of his bucket and pointed it at the plane.

Police also interviewed the other men who were fishing with him. They confirmed that they saw Rawit pointing the laser at the aircraft twice.

Rawit voluntarily surrendered the laser pointer device. Charges were filed on Nov. 6. He had his initial appearance before the court on that same day and the court released him on his own recognizance under a list of restrictions on movement and reporting requirements.
Rawit is innocent unless proven otherwise in a court of law.

Comments

  • After reading this article, I was totally shocked about the maximum penalty of five years in prison and $10,000 fine if he is convicted! This is THE FIRST CASE ever and I personally think the FSM/DOJ should highly consider lessening his penalty since Rawit admitted his wrong doing and voluntarily surrendered the laser pointer device. I think DOJ should have him do community work duties at the schools and talk about this law which I am very sure many other people don't know about it. However, I do want to ask Rawit, how he possessed such a military grade laser in the first place?
  • I think that the message should be sent out there with tougher penalty to deter the future idiots from trying. What if the laser blinded the two pilots and the plane crashed? I recall reading a John Clancy novel and Ding brought down a few planes with laser. These are dangerous things. The fact that it did not does not give a good argument on deterrence. Stories like this were all over the news before but those are in the bigger countries.

    That planes were obviously the same plane flight from Guam to Chuuk, Chuuk Pohnpei and return flight back to Chuuk and then to Guam that comes out here weekly on Sundays. United Flight 176 (about to land in Chuuk from Guam for the leg to Pohnpei) and United Flight 95 (taking off from Chuuk to Guam in the early a.m. hours). I was just on Flight 176 over the weekend and I did see some flashlight coming out of Sokehs but those were are just idiots playing with harmless lights. I hope they do not upgrade to lasers and lasers are so cheap that if a case like this is taken lightly, other may follow.

  • First, second or third, you break the law, you break the law. Accept the penalty. Please no detour.
  • Yes! Let it loose once, let it loose forever. Totally agree with the highest penalty handed down. This is equivalent to mass homicide. Just imagine if the pilot gets blinded and the plane crashes...... Imagine that and make your judgment.
  • Are we going to say, "But he admitted to it voluntarily."?
  • ... after the fact!
  • Which book from John Clancy? Lol
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