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Thailand's "Q" Banks on Rubber Bullets 107

Posted by michael
from the aston-martin-not-included dept.
redwolfoz writes "ABC News reports that Thailand's answer to 'Q', the legendary inventor of gadgets for movie spy James Bond, is busy at work at his warehouse on the edge of the country's capital. Workmen inside are trying out the latest inventions of retired Major Songphon Eiamboonyarith, who runs defence contracting firm Precipart Co. The range includes umbrellas that shoot rubber bullets, bullet-proof baseball caps and a hand-held device to fire a man-sized net 10m to stop a villain in his tracks."
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Thailand's "Q" Banks on Rubber Bullets

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  • I wonder if that spiedy-net would work in an office environment. Would make dealing with the boss MUCH easier, I think. That and Herf wars go to a whole new level.
  • Um... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mike3411 (558976)
    It doesn't look like any of these inventions are particularly new, the US police force and riot response teams have been using/testing rubber bullet, bean bag bullets, nets, foam, sonic weapons, and other for the past several years. They've started deploying them to more and more officers, apparently it's lead to a number of situations where they were able to incapacitate and arrest someone they usually would have shot. So it sounds like a movement in the right direction, although I think these weapons get used more against rioters, drunks, the mentally ill, etc. I'm pretty sure they still shoot supervillains... or promote them.
    • I'm pretty sure they still shoot supervillains... or promote them.

      Or elect them.
    • The article wasn't so much about how it's new and cool, but how they're new to Thailand, and very cheap and effective for the task at hand (mostly, training). Rubber bullets don't fly as far and are thus effective for training exercises in Thailand, where space is at a premium. The Howitzer shells they used to use cost over $200, but now they use rubber shells that are under $10.

      I mean, just looking at the "armored tuk tuk"...it's not like anyone's saying this is something amazingly cutting edge. Though it did remind me slightly of the "elite military vehicle" from Stripes...
    • by swb (14022) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @06:20PM (#4304726)
      Maybe I just haven't thought about it enough, but why not pepper-spray paintball guns for riot control or other situations where you just want to incapacitate? You'd get decent physical range, with an automatic firing version excellent coverage.

      Regular mace or pepper spray requires you to be too close, "tear gas" or whatever they shoot in a gasseous cloud is too broad and not specific enough.

      Paintballs hurt like a sonofabitch, a repeater could deliver a lot of them at a good distance to clothes, faces, hair, etc, adding some longer-term deterrant effect as well (have to change clothes).

      From my experience, though, you'd have to "fix" the firing mechanism, since jams and fuckups with a tear-gas paintball would be a bit more than just an inconvenience. I'd make the paintball payloads more like conventional bullets, cased in a plastic cartridge. This'd solve a lot of feed issues as well as allow for more traditional box magazines. I'd also use conventional gunpowder propellant for higher velocities, larger payloads than CO2 can deliver.

      It might actually be possible to make a paintball cartridge a standard weapon could use.

      Of course the magic part is probably whatever membrane you use for the irritant payload. It has to be strong enough for firing and to really hurt on impact, but it also has to be soft enough to break on softer surfaces as well as not cause soft-tissue injuries other than bruising.

      A weapon like this would really seem to be a natural, especially in situations where you want to deliver a lot of firepower in civilian environments -- think of defending an Embassy with this -- .50s in the windows, guards with M-16s, all putting out 100s of rounds a minute of a chemical irritant instead of lethal bullets, risking a military conflict..

      Anyway, why haven't they done this yet?
      • Have you ever used a paintball gun?
        The accuracy is atrocious. Even really nice, heavily-accessorized guns don't shoot all that straight.
        Also, the range is pretty limited.
        And finally, they are very unreliable. In particular, balls sometimes break in the chamber or the barrel as you are firing. If you're just shooting paint this results in a mess and your gun jamming. If you're firing tear gas this could get pretty unpleasant.
        • And finally, they are very unreliable. In particular, balls sometimes break in the chamber or the barrel as you are firing. If you're just shooting paint this results in a mess and your gun jamming. If you're firing tear gas this could get pretty unpleasant.

          I raised that issue in my initial posting. In order for it to be a more effective weapon it would require 6" diameter accuracy at a range of 100 yards and have to deliver a cyclic rate of at least 3 rounds per second.

          That's why I thought loading the irritant projectile in a typical firearm-style cartridge would help a lot. Most of the paintball firing problems I had related to misfeeds, which I attributed to feeding the "naked" projectile and cheap and overly simple feed mechanisms. Protecting the projectile in a rigid casing would prevent crushing on a misfeed, and allow for a spring or other force feed mechanism, and allow the use of something other than CO2 as a propellant.

          The biggest challenge would remain the projectile membrane, as you need to walk the line between tough enough to hit ~500fps without breaking a projectile in the barrel but soft enough to break on impact without bouncing.

          Dunno why paintball accuracy sucks -- smooth bores? Too-soft casings flexing in flight? Inertial problems because of the liquid? Low muzzle velocity? I'd imagine they all contribute, but again it doesn't have to be a 500 yard sniper weapon. Hitting a 6" circle reliably at 100 yards from a long-barrelled weapon would be more than adequate, and I don't think even that it would get used that way. It'd be a burst or automatic weapon used to spray at smaller crowds, or in bursts of 3-5 rounds at individuals.

          A dozen guys with M16-type rifles could deliver a lot of irritant in a small amount of time. And it's not supposed to be just the irritant, it's supposed to hurt too.
      • Well, among other considerations, I think things like pepper spray need to be pretty much directly applied to the eyes to work - you need to shoot a stream or spray of it at someone's face. Paintballs explode on impact, but not in any kind of covering way - you'd end up with little splotched of pepper spray on you, and unless you were shot in the face (both painful and stupid - who would turn their faces towards firing weapons?) it wouldn't really do much. It might be feasible as a means of delivering more localized tear gas, but I'd guess that they use tear gas for large enough crowds that the kind of coverage offered by current canister systems is preferable.
        • Go look what happened at the Redskins-Eagles game. They had to stop the game because some jackass security officer had sprayed it into a crowd to stop some fight between two drunks. The resulting irritant-filled air cause a chunk of the crowd to leave and the game to halt because the players(30 yards away down on the field) were complaining of irritated eyes. Pepper spray is basically Tear Gas Lite, liquified. It is not only an irritant if it is in one's eyes.
      • First of all, LAPD has them. They had them before they had bean bag guns. I have seen many demo's of this on a few TLC programs and other programs aswell. And it is not tear gas as those first 2 replys thought. The substance is bright yellow/green in color, and just a little more liquid then the pain in normal paintballs. On a few of the demo's I saw of this, a law officer shot another officer in the chesh from about 60 feet, the officer on the recieving end described it as being pepper sprayed but with more long lasting effects as the substance permiated his clothing.
      • most likely because of safety issues. A paintball gun is designed to deliver a paintball to it's target at a speed (leaving the barrel) of ~275-300 feet per second. the weight of the thing (which would probably be altered due to the different substance inside the "shell") helps affect the accuracy of the projectile.

        Now, say you "soup up" a paintball gun like you suggest...assume an inital velocity of 500 fps, and that the weight of the projectile will be the same as a regular paintball. With those factors considered, a paintball, which is a hazard being shot at 300fps (lost eyes, broken teeth, bruises, welts, and other assorted nastys), could well almost become a lethal-"non-lethal" crowd control method.

        Now, if you use protocol that says "shoot at the ground", and have the tear gas inside pressurized so it will reach the face(s) of the people it's being used against, you might (possibly) have something......

        • by GigsVT (208848) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @08:17PM (#4305052) Journal
          Alternative weapon systems are usually called "less than lethal", as a reminder that they can and do seriously injure people. As it is, there is a backlash against police overuse of pepper spray and things of that sort. Really I don't think police need too many options. A club, or a sap, and a sidearm are all I personally think they should carry. All these toys might look neat, but I think it encourages abuse. Sometimes technology isn't the answer, when the question already had perfectly good low-tech answers.
        • With those factors considered, a paintball, which is a hazard being shot at 300fps (lost eyes, broken teeth, bruises, welts, and other assorted nastys), could well almost become a lethal-"non-lethal" crowd control method.

          Actually, current "non-lethal" weapons, such as rubber bullets do kill pretty often. A pepper spray paintball would not kill nearly as often simply because of the fact that it explodes and absorbs much of its own force by itself. However, the pepper spray would do the deterrent job of beanbags and rubber bullets quite nicely. Obviously, that still doesn't help with severe eye damage, but if you pepper spray somone with regular mace, you're still gonna damage/destroy their eyes anyway.
      • Don't think pepper spray would work in Thailand. They'd prolly use it for hot sauce.
      • A few posters have already pointed out that some police departments have deployed/are developing "stink bomb"/pepper spray projectiles. As for your comment about shooting them out of a normal service weapon, Simunition (produced by SNC Technologies [simunition.com]) is a training ammunition similar to a paintball that can be fired from a standard side arm. Currently the ammunition requires the use of an adapter to prevent chambering of live ammunition.
      • I can assure you that some police departments do have these and they have used them. They were in heavy use in College Park, Maryland, USA after the University's basketball team won the national championship. After the initial crowds died down, they would heavily light up stragglers with the paintball guns. I couldn't tell what kind of gun they were using (and the officer back at their staging area that I tried to ask about them was very unresponsive to my questions as a paintgun hobbyist) but it appeared to be pretty stock with only a fat laser pointer - most likely used to intimidate than actually target. Shots were taken from as close 10 meters to maybe 40+. I didn't have a chronny to check how they had been tuned but the balls were definitely slapping flesh.

        Huntred
    • ...but I don't think the LAPD fire their baton rounds from an umbrella. That's where the 'Q' bit comes in to it, see?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2002 @05:43PM (#4304619)
    ... a hand-held device to fire a man-sized net 10m to stop a villain in his tracks


    I think I can make a potato gun do that. :)
    • Man-sized net with a range of 30 feet? Less than six body lengths? I can do that with my hands, I don't need any more "device" than the weighted net.

      What would be useful is to have a range of over 30 meters, not 10m. If someone is running, you need time(distance) to choose and aim the weapon -- whether they are running away or toward you.

      I can stop someone at 30m with an Argentine bola, but that requires a little elbow room for the swing. Technically, you need a boleadora for humans to avoid breaking legs, as a cattle bola has way too much power.

  • by drik00 (526104) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @05:45PM (#4304625) Homepage
    Man in tuxedo walks up to the bar, orders:

    "...Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred... ...the name is Band...Rubber Band..."

    Yeah, so i'm a dork. Join the club.

  • credbibility (Score:3, Informative)

    by meekg (30651) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @05:50PM (#4304645) Homepage
    why should a rubber-bullet gun be disguised as an umbrella ??
    A rubber-bullet gun is for deterrence, and should look like a shotgun, or something even more evil.

    An advancing police line armed with umbrellas will most likely not cause a crows to disperse.

    More likely, the umbrella is quite lethal, in the assassination meaning of the word, but since this is a PG rated story, it's been modified A-Team style.

    Everyone's gotta have a hobby.
    Mr. Songphon's happened to be killing.

    o well.
    • Re:credbibility (Score:3, Informative)

      by Squarewav (241189)
      the idea is for protection, if you shoot some mugger with your umbrella, hopefully they run away thinking they've just been shot with a real bullet. as for just carrying a shotgun with you, your going to get some bad reactions from police and people on the street
      • Depending on the idea of being able to "fool" someone into thinking you can hurt them more than you really can is a bad, bad idea.
        If someone who feels in danger of being mugged is unwilling or unable to carry a real weapon, they should go New York style and carry one wallet for their cash and one for their ID, cards, etc., so they can lose as little as possible when they hand the cash wallet over.
      • for real protection,if your life is threatened,use a real gun and real bullets,bigger than .38 or 9mm.
        dont take chances on anything less.you can hope in one hand and crap in the other and see which fills up first.dont take chances with your life or those you love.shoot to kill.Remember if that bad guy is threatening your life to begin with,theres no reason for him to change his mind just because you have a weapon too,USE IT.Never shoot to wound.A wounded animal is the most dangerous.
        Theres no way im gonna gum up the barrel of my .45 with rubber bullets(anyone here actually ever clean a gun?) or pepper or some backwoods asian badguy net invention.take care of your weapon and it'll take care of you.

    • Standing silhouetted in the doorway through which they had entered the vault was the man who wasn't pleased to see them. His displeasure was communicated partly by the barking hectoring quality of his voice and partly by the viciousness with which he waved a long silver Kill-O-Zap gun at them. The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. "Make it evil," he'd been told. "Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with."
  • the gift (Score:4, Funny)

    by Squarewav (241189) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @05:53PM (#4304656)
    "My father was a soldier. He used to give me manuals on explosives and guns."

    Talk about the gift that keeps on giving, "hey what did you get for x-mas??" "My dad gave me that new transformer!" "That's nothing my dad gave me books on how guns and explosives work! I cant wait too try them out!"
  • In the future, can the story submitters actually make up their own headlines instead of using the exact same one as the story being linked to?

    Thanks
  • Is this guy high? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thelinuxking (574760) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @06:12PM (#4304707)
    Songphon says in three months Precipart will deliver to police in the south the firm's first armoured tuk tuk, Thailand's popular indigenous three-wheeled motorcycle taxi.
    1. I suppose he is going to cover up the sides of the tuk tuk, because it makes no sense to have just an armored canopy and open sides. If he seals it up it won't even be a bicycle anymore, but will be like an armored car, except with only 3 wheels. How original.

    2.In reference to the umbrellas: "They are designed for police use in hostage situations," says Precipart consultant Sanpetch Putarak, a retired wing commander
    The prototype umbrella is pink. How many police officers would normally be walking around with pink umbrellas?

    3. Police are expected to have things like rubber bullets. Is the umbrella used to surprise the one or people who don't know that police are armed?

    4.The armored "tuk tuk" is equipped with a machine gun. Do you really need a web launcher in addition to that?

    However he DOES have one good idea. He plans to make walking sticks which fire rubber bullets. I like this idea. When you run out of bullets, you can just whack people with the stick.
    • "They are designed for police use in hostage situations," says Precipart consultant Sanpetch Putarak, a retired wing commander
      How many police officers would normally be walking around with pink umbrellas?
      [snip]
      Is the umbrella used to surprise the one or people who don't know that police are armed?
      What if you don't know that middle-aged woman walking down the street is a police officer?
    • The prototype umbrella is pink. How many police officers would normally be walking around with pink umbrellas?

      Clearly the color of the prototype is the most important part. I mean, modifying a black umbrella to shoot rubber bullets would be easy, but making a pink umbrella black? That's crazy talk.

      Is the umbrella used to surprise the one or people who don't know that police are armed?

      Once again, cleary apearances are the most difficult thing to change. Which is easier, dressing a policeman in plain clothes (hey, maybe they could call them "plain-clothes policemen", what a novel idea), or disguising a gun to look like an innocent item?

      The armored "tuk tuk" is equipped with a machine gun. Do you really need a web launcher in addition to that?

      Good point. I mean, I sure can't conceive of a situation where police would want to capture someone instead of gunning them down.

    • Hey,

      If he seals it up it won't even be a bicycle anymore, but will be like an armored car, except with only 3 wheels. How original.

      Except the estimated price is $2,400.

      The prototype umbrella is pink.

      Featured word: Prototype.

      Is the umbrella used to surprise the one or people who don't know that police are armed?

      It might be more of a gimmick that's fun to make and use than an actual useful-in-the-field product. You know, like a Desert Eagle .50 or something.

      Or it could be for under cover police.

      Just my $0.02,

      Michael
  • Now maybe we can finally get someone working on the tuxedo from the Jackie Chan movie.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If he was called Ng and drove a tank.
  • Whatever you do, don't push it.

    Why not?

    Because you'll activate and fire the passenger side ejector seat.

    Ejector seat? You must be joking!

    I never joke about my work.
  • On the same page :

    Major Songphon tests his latest invention - a net-shooter to entangle would-be agressors ... wearing his latest invention, a lightweight bullet-proof vest able to stop a round from a .357-calibre Smith & Wesson.

    I can accept that he's working on two things at once, but they can't BOTH be "his latest"
    • Don't you see? He invented the net while the reporter was there!
    • Bulletproof vests that stop .357 Magnum bullets is no big a deal.

      The problem comes with stopping smaller high velocity rifle ammunition.

      A level 3 Kevlar vest won't even stop a 7.62x25mm Mauser/Tokerov pistol round. The standard soviet pistol/sub-machine-gun round from WWII, which is bottlenecked & has a velocity of 1400+fps (the Chech CZ52 loads do 1600fps)
  • by xsfo (604140) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @06:47PM (#4304800)
    Villain Supply [villainsupply.com] is the answer
  • Sounds like Korea needs this guy!

    We have tested the rubber bullets on dogs. It cannot kill the dog, but the dog is stunned and can't run away.

    I'd like to see PeTA protest this guys work, hah.

  • Because when fans start sneaking guns into baseball games, you'll have protection.
    Screw the occasional assault and battery of some 1st base coach.
  • Am I the only one that gets the feeling that they will be seeing some
    of these items at his next [A-Z]* protest?
    Don't get me wrong. There is something very fun about this in that
    "we will laugh about this when we are done with our court mandated
    volunteerism. But for right now I am in a lot of pain. Did they have
    to use the tear gas /and/ the the nets?" kind of way.
  • by capedgirardeau (531367) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @09:45PM (#4305283)

    All this feel good bullshit about non-lethal means of controlling people being nicer and show that the authorities are really nice guys is a trick.

    More non-lethals controls are still controls and actually lead to an increase in the state powers and ability to surpress protests and dissent!!

    The easier it is for them to package it to the masses as a good, nice, humane thing, the easier it will be for them to get away with putting down people and their voices.

    As if we need more that these days.

    • by crusher-1 (302790) on Sunday September 22, 2002 @12:20AM (#4305708)
      Agreed. My father was a cop in a major city and taught me the only time you should use any sort of projectile weapon is in situations where life is at risk. In the event that a weapon of this nature is to be used, it is to be used in only one fashion - you either shoot to kill or you don't shoot.

      Furthermore, while attending UCLA their basketball team won the final 4. A significant amount of the student body went into Westwood and became a bit unruly (as college students will). And of course non-students became involved and things got a bit out-of-hand. The L.A.P.D. sent out a riot control unit. At one point a non-student that was somewhat aggitated was surrounded by a groups of police. Then a stun gun - the type that shoots a bean-bag type projectile was fired at this person at close range. This guy fell as if he had been shoot with a generic projectile (aka bullet). He laid there for 10 to 15 minutes before anyone on the P.D. would take action to get the EMS in their. This only happened after the rest of the crowd became aggitated by the fact that someone that was essentially defenseless was injured and no assistance by the authorities was garnered. It was only then that the man was give assistance - and not before the P.D. dragged him behind the riot line by his feet.

      Point is, that supposed "non-lethal" weapons are not completely non-lethal. If the situations are right or the weapon is used in a manner not intended death can easily happen.

      And what good is a bullet proof baseball cap good for anyway. An umbrella that's just a camouflaged zip gun. Q he ain't. Just another mercenary trying to market stuff that the U.S., Stazi, and the K.G.B. have been doing since the 60's.

      In the U.S. this guy would either be working for the C.I.A./N.S.A. or be labeled as a criminal.

      Just MHO. :[
  • If he's anything like this Q, [virtualave.net] he'd just stop time, arrest the criminals, put them on trial for the crimes of humanity, [3sygma.com] and be done with it. [caltech.edu]
  • "We have tested the rubber bullets on dogs. It cannot kill the dog, but the dog is stunned and can't run away."

    How long before PETA begins an ad campaign against Thailand for animal cruelty by testing weapons with animals? Will this lead to labels on weapons in the same vein as the cosmetics industry such as "This weapon not tested on animals?"

  • Have you ever been around Bangkok in a tuk-tuk? They are incedibly unstable and the extra weight high up would make them so dangerous to the occupant that no one would need to do anything extra to hurt the occupants.
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