Because of the device's suspicious components, buyers had better keep it from view of security forces on the look-out for bombers. Main photo: Mawlawizada with his invention and own vehicle, which he is confident will never leave his possession. (Photos: Rouyee)
The door of the jeep is opened and at this exact time, its owner’s cell phone rings. A loud speaker inside the vehicle then screeches, “Do not touch any part of this car, this would be suicidal and may cause death.”
This is the first stage of activation of Mohammad Hanif Mawlawizada’s homebuilt car alarm, but it is a trifle compared to the final theft deterrent: a 6,000-volt shock remotely and repeatedly delivered to the intruder from the car’s battery.
“This anti-theft device can inform the owner of a vehicle of the situation from a distance of one kilometre to thousands,” says Mawlawizada, 65, a Kabul-based electrical engineer who has built the device using parts of cell phones, radios, televisions and walkie-talkies.
“If anyone touches the car, it will inform me. If I am not reachable, it will inform my friend and if my friend is not reachable, it will inform the police.”
The device also gives the location of the vehicle, warns the thief not to touch anything and will deliver a severe shock if they keep fumbling. “If they sit and do not move, nothing happens to them,” the designer assures.
As for the electrification, the shocker system activates early on but reserves the big shock as a last resort and will repeat it every ten seconds until the thief desists from trying to steal the car or escape. The device is concealed in another part of the vehicle out of sight so it cannot be easily deactivated.
"If anyone has this device installed in their car and it is stolen, I will refund the entire value of the car.” Hanif Mawlawizada
He has not sold any yet, but will build them to order for around 10,000 afghanis (178 UD dollars), says Mawlawizada, who has already honed his sales pitch.
“By installing this device, your car is insured. If anyone has this device installed in their car and it is stolen, I will refund the entire value of the car,” he declares.
What the authorities will make of this potentially lethal device hitting the streets is unclear. Aware that the components – handsets, wires, circuit boards – will immediately arouse suspicions among law-enforcers, given the high bombing threat in the city, Mawlawizada is keeping a low profile. He has neither asked the police for permission to use the alarm, nor been stopped for inspection while driving in the city, he said.
The alarm is concealed within the car so that it cannot be easily deactivated. The thief only hears menacing instructions to remain still.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqi told Afghanistan Today that he could not comment on something the ministry had not seen. As for the need for the device, he said without providing any statistics, that car theft rates were still very low in Kabul, although house burglaries are on the rise.
Again, Mawlawizada is already on the case, in still more alarming fashion.
House of horrors
In 2006 he built the prototype for a deadly house alarm system which combines a surveillance camera with a rifle. When someone forces entry to the house, the owner is automatically notified by mobile phone. the camera tracks the intruder, and the owner can then activate the weapon remotely.
However, the inventor declined to comment on the legality of this design, saying only that “it is necessary in Afghanistan and has not been used so far on anyone.”