Drivers who participate in illegal motorbike racing on city streets will be fined and possibly criminally prosecuted under new city regulations, according to the HCM City People's Committee.

Col Vo Van Nhuan, head of HCM City Traffic Police, said the police and relevant agencies would work with bike mechanics to put an end to the modification of engines that make them more powerful and dangerous.

The motorbikes also often have their brake systems removed and have loud horns and noisy exhaust pipes during the races.

Nhuan said police would keep records of the racing and encourage vendors at night to keep local police informed of any illegal races.

The city People's Committee chairman, Le Hoang Quan, has urged districts to be as vigilant as Binh Thanh district in breaking up gangs of illegal motorbike drivers who threaten public safety.

The Traffic Safety Committee has lauded Binh Thanh district's effort in stopping illegal racing, an activity that the city has had little success in curbing in recent years.

Binh Thanh district police, Hang Xanh Traffic police and other police units recently entrapped 550 illegal drivers by using cars to set up blocks at a main road and several alleys.

Drivers whose bikes were seized at the time will not receive their bikes back until they present a letter of intent from their family in which they promise that their children will not race illegally.

Police will also hold meetings in communities to speak publicly about the violators' activities, prior to returning their bikes. Nhuan said more vigilance by police units was required, but that other city agencies should co-operate to help stop the illegal activity.

Families should teach their children about traffic safety and a healthy lifestyle, he added./.