Police are currently hunting for a group of young males in West Belfast after some school boys were attacked. They believe that a stun gun resembling an electronic cigarette was involved.
Three boys, aged between 12 and 13, were attacked and struck on the neck by the stun gun, and one fell to the ground. Detective Inspector Paul Rowland said: â€œEach of the boys felt something on their neck and one of them fell to the ground. Two of the boys subsequently attended hospital for treatment to minor injuries. While we believe some kind of small electronic device was used, we are keeping an open mind, but are appealing to anyone who has any information about this incident, or who may have witnessed it to contact detectives on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 811 06/09/17.â€
Stun guns disguised as popular items is nothing new; there were reports of iPhone versions back in 2015. The stun vape version hit the news last year and gang members were claiming theyâ€™d managed to import them from America: â€œThe old bill has no idea. Everyone is on e-cigs these days so they donâ€™t look out of place.â€
Itâ€™s good to hear that none of the victims suffered any serious damage, but itâ€™s troubling that this could reflect poorly on vaping if such weapons became more widely available.
Weâ€™ve helped to highlight attacks on vape stores and thefts of vape kit in the past. Each time there will be many comments about what people would like to do to the perpetrators. This actually happened in Indonesia recently.
A young man broke into the Old Vape House, South Jakarta, and is alleged to have stolen a mod worth around Â£100. Seven men are reported to have attacked him, resulting in his death. Four of them have been arrested while three remain on the run.
It serves as a caution to anybody thinking such things deserve direct action. For such an insignificant amount of money, one man is now dead and seven others face a long term in prison.
But Jakarta is no stranger to vape-related crime; the local police have also recently arrested a number of people for distributing drugs inside bottles of eliquid.
People would transfer around Â£150 directly into a bank account and wait for a person to deliver their 60ml bottle of narcotics. The police didnâ€™t say what the drug was, just that it was â€œsimilarâ€ to the effect of smoking marijuana.
A soft sentence for a soft drug then? Not a chance: the Indonesian 1997 Narcotics Law carries a maximum life sentence or the death penalty.
As Crimewatchâ€™s Nick Ross said: â€œDon’t have nightmares, do sleep well.â€