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June 10, 2010

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Cops sideline drag racers in Qingpu

POLICE are trying to put the brakes on motor drag racing.

In two crackdowns in May and June in suburban Qingpu District, police nabbed 28 racers, detaining 14 of them for five days. They also seized 25 motors that had been refitted illegally into high-powered ones.

The riders were all in their 20s, police said. Some who were nabbed in the second race were driving with injuries that were still raw from the first race, officers said.

City fast roads, especially in suburban areas, have become ideal places for drag racers, some of them just teenagers.

Police said they will continue to crack down on the dangerous and annoying speed games.

They said they are also talking with industry and commerce authorities to investigate motorcycle and motor stores that provide the service of turning regular motors to more powerful ones.

It only takes 200 yuan (US$29) to 300 yuan to convert a moped into a motorcycle after adding a new engine and brake system, authorities said. Even cycles using electricity can be refitted.

A moped with top speed of 65 kilometers per hour can be souped up to more than 100 kilometers per hour.

"Technically, riders have to acquire motor licenses to drive such refitted vehicles," traffic police officers said.

So far, no traffic law regulates drag racing or joy riding, local traffic police said. Most of the riders are detained for driving refitted cycles without licenses.

There have been two serious accidents involving drag racing in recent weeks.

One man who was riding a souped-up moped died in a crash after losing control on June 6.

A month earlier, a university student was seriously injured after being hit by a passing motorbike as he crossed the road in front of his school in Putuo District. The rider, who had had the motor refitted, was caught 12 days later.


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