NSF unlawfully flew drone near National Day Parade

Tan Jin Kang, 21, was caught flying a drone around 7.50pm near the Singapore Flyer on Aug 9 last year.
Tan Jin Kang, 21, was caught flying a drone around 7.50pm near the Singapore Flyer on Aug 9 last year.

A full-time national serviceman (NSF) unlawfully flew a drone near the Singapore Flyer at last year's National Day Parade (NDP), even though there were signs in the area telling people not to do so.

In the first case of its kind, Tan Jin Kang, 21, pleaded guilty yesterday to possessing the prohibited device at the spot, which had been declared a "special event area" under the Public Order Act.

Tan had gone to Raffles Avenue on Aug 9 last year to capture a video of a fireworks display later that evening.

He was flying the drone around 7.50pm when a police officer, Sergeant Gordan Lee Wai Kong, 27, was notified about the device by his command post.

Sgt Lee went near the Singapore Flyer and spotted the drone flying at a height of about 5m.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Teong told District Judge Christopher Goh: "By the time the complainant saw the drone, it was already on its descent to a spot which was along Raffles Avenue in front of Singapore Flyer.

"The complainant walked over to the spot and saw the accused standing there; he was using a controller to operate the drone.

"The complainant asked the accused to stop what he was doing and to produce his particulars."

The DPP also said there were many signboards in the vicinity informing people they should not fly or have a drone in their possession at the time.

 
 
 

He added: "There were in fact two such signboards in close proximity to where the accused had been found operating his drone."

Tan, who was unrepresented, told Judge Goh yesterday that he was not aware of the law and did not see the signs.

Pleading for leniency, he said that the signs were in red and "didn't stand out" as they were "camouflaged" by other red items in the area associated with the NDP.

The NSF will be sentenced on Feb 18.

For committing the offence under the Public Order Act, he can be jailed for up to a year and fined a maximum of $20,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2020, with the headline 'NSF unlawfully flew drone near National Day Parade'. Print Edition | Subscribe