SINGAPORE: Two men were charged on Friday (Jul 5) over flying drones without a permit near an airbase in what is the first prosecution of its kind in Singapore.
Ed Chen Junyuan, 37, is accused of operating a 0.357kg DBPOWER FPV drone at an open field at around 9pm on Jun 26 this year near Block 128C Punggol Field Walk.
The area is within 5km of Paya Lebar Air Base. Chen was allegedly flying the drone for recreation, but did not possess a valid Class 2 activity permit for flying the craft.
He was charged with one count under the Air Navigation Order of flying a small unmanned aircraft without a permit.
Chen's friend, 40-year-old Tay Miow Seng, is accused of flying a 0.43kg Bumblebee wrapped DJI drone at around the same time and at the same place as Chen.
Tay is also accused of not having a valid Class 2 activity permit for flying the drone at the time.
The men, who are represented by lawyer Josephus Tan from Invictus Law Corporation, face a maximum fine of S$20,000 for the offence if found guilty. They will return to court on Aug 2.
The men are the first individuals to be charged with this particular offence.
Mr Tan Kah Han, senior director for Safety Regulation and director of Airworthiness certification and Unmanned Aircraft Systems at the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), warned people to operate their unmanned aircraft "safely and responsibly", with the necessary permits.
"CAAS takes a serious view of errant operations of unmanned aircraft which may pose threats to aviation or endanger the safety of others, and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who contravene regulations," Mr Tan added.
In May, a company was charged with flying a drone without a permit.
The Singapore branch of civil engineering company LT Sambo Co was accused of flying a drone along Marine Parade Road without a permit.
LT Sambo is set to plead guilty next Monday.