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Man charged with flying drone during NDP plans on pleading guilty

Tan Jin Kiang, 21, was charged with unlawfully flying a DJI Mavic 2 zoom drone along Raffles Avenue in front of the Singapore Flyer on the evening of August 9

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Singapore—A man who was charged with an offence under the Public Order Act for flying a drone during this year’s National Day Parade (NDP), an enhanced security event, told a district court of his intention to plead guilty to the charge against him.

Twenty-one-year old Tan Jin Kiang was charged with unlawfully flying a DJI Mavic 2 zoom drone along Raffles Avenue in front of the Singapore Flyer shortly before 8 o’clock on the evening of August 9 on October 2, Wednesday.

Mr Tan reportedly operated the drone for around 45 seconds at a height of 10.8 meters, the court documents note. The documents also list the drone as a “prohibited item,” but do not disclose the reason why Mr Tan allegedly operated it that night.

A statement from the Police indicated that officers had seen the drone flying on Raffles Avenue on August 9. They then tracked Mr Tan and detained him, taking the drone from him.

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It had been announced on August 1 that NDP 2019, which was held at Padang, under the Public Order Act, had been declared an “enhanced security special event.”

The Police said that the grounds surrounding Padang had been designated as as a special event area with enhanced security measures, saying, “The area around the Padang, which includes Raffles Avenue, had been designated as a special event area where police had imposed security restrictions.”

The police also said on August 1, “The police seek the cooperation of the public to comply with all orders issued by police officers. Persons who engage in activities that compromise security within the special event area and the special zone will be dealt with firmly in accordance with the law,”

The act made it an offence to operate drones in this area without an official permit, and Mr Tan has said he plans on pleading guilty to this offence.  If he is convicted of the offence, he can be made to pay a fine as high as S$20,000 or go to jail for as long as one year.

On October 30, Mr Tan will return to court. He has chosen to remain unrepresented by a lawyer.

This is not the first time this year that flying drones unlawfully have gotten people into trouble. On June 18 and 19, TISG reported that within a ten-hour period, about 37 scheduled flights were delayed due to unauthorised drones flying within the vicinity of Changi Airport.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), there were ‘confirmed sightings of unauthorised drone flying’ in the vicinity of Changi Airport between 11 pm on June 18 and 9 am on June 19.

“To ensure the safety of aircraft operations and passengers, the operations of one runway were suspended for short periods of time,” noted CAAS. The remaining runway continued to operate while the other was suspended.

And on July 5, two Singaporean men were charged for allegedly flying drones near a military airbase on June 26 without permission. Ed Chen Junyuan, 37, and Tay Miow Seng, 40, appeared in court charged with one count each of operating a small drone within five kilometres (three miles) of Paya Lebar Air Base without the correct permit./ TISG

Read related: Rogue drone sightings at Changi Airport cause 37 flights to be delayed

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