SYDNEY (AFP) - Three passenger planes headed for Sydney airport were targeted by a high-powered laser, with one pilot hit in the eye, police said Thursday. The first strike happened Wednesday evening on the plane's approach, while a laser beam flashed at a second aircraft soon after. In the third incident a pilot was hit in the eye. All three planes landed safely. "It's a serious offence," said a local police spokes-man, adding that it was thought the incidents were linked. Laser strikes at flying aircraft has become an international problem, with a flight targeted in New Zealand this week. New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association vice-president Glen Kenny said the dangerous scourge was becoming common with 16 cases in the country this year. The gadgets are prohibited weapons in Australia and a permit is needed to own one, but there are no restrictions on their sale or distribution in New Zealand.