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Monday, May 10, 2021

Qatar police fine motorists, impound hundreds of cars in crackdown on ‘drifting’

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In a surprise raid, law enforcement officials in Qatar have seized some 175 300 vehicles and fined their owners for participating in a popular but dangerous pastime among young Qatari men – stunt driving.

UPDATE | 5:01pm

In a newly released statement, the Ministry of Interior has clarified that 175 vehicles were impounded, a lower number than media reports originally stated. 

It also said:

This legal procedure has been taken against all those motorists participated in the car stunt according to the traffic law. The monitoring will be tightened at various locations to confront this phenomenon through continuous campaigns continuous and intensive inspection by the competent authorities.

The statement concluded by asking parents to educate their children on the dangers of stunt driving.


The bust occurred early Saturday while the men, who had been spending Ramadan evenings and mornings at the New Industrial Area, were cheering each other on as drivers did tricks with their cars, including “skiing,” drifting and other stunts.  

According to the Peninsula, “fleets of public security vans (cordoned) off the entire area in a sudden swoop.” By sealing off the location, neither spectators nor participants were able to escape the crackdown, which was a joint effort between the Traffic Department, Lekhwiya and Al Fazaa.

Meanwhile, complaints began coming in from Qatar residents wondering why they could not enter the New Industrial Area.

In an email to Doha News around 10:30am on Saturday, one resident said:

Nobody has been allowed to enter inside the gate; that means for almost 6 hours no vehicles has been allowed to enter inside the premises. Our company staff has been stranded for 4 hours.

Others expressed confusion on Twitter:

Building up

Frustration has been building with the dangerous state of Qatar’s roads, with more than a dozen people dying this Ramadan alone from reckless driving-related accidents.

A week before the police raid took place, prominent Al Arab columnist Faisal Marzouki tweeted a video of the types of stunts youth here engage in, asking for the government to intervene.

The YouTube clip, which has gotten some 65,000 views since it was posted last month, shows hundreds of young men dressed in thobes lined up on both sides of a long stretch of road. They are seen cheering and applauding their peers as they do tricks while other vehicles also try to get through.

The government raid was lauded by many in the Qatari community, with some thanking the Ministry of Interior for ensuring the “safety and security” of the people. 

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo courtesy of Ali Al-Safran on Twitter

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