Youth allegedly operated drone over no-fly zones, including Mindef Gombak Base, Stagmont Camp

SINGAPORE - A youth who allegedly flew a drone over military bases was hauled to court on Thursday (Oct 15).

Russell Wong Shin Pin, 20, faces eight charges including four under the Air Navigation Act. Three of the charges are under the Air Navigation Order, involving flying a drone without a proper permit.

The eighth charge under the Infrastructure Protection Act involves flying a drone over Gali Batu Depot, which is a protected place.

Wong allegedly operated the drone for recreation at a park near Upper Bukit Timah Road and Cashew Road from 6.11pm to 6.43pm on Oct 8 last year, even though he did not have a Class 2 activity permit to do so.

During that period, he is said to have flown the unmanned aircraft (UA) over the Ministry of Defence's (Mindef) Gombak Base and used it to snap a picture of the protected area.

Wong allegedly went to a carpark near Stagmont Ring off Woodlands Road the next day and flew the drone within 5km of Tengah Airbase aerodrome from 6.49pm to 6.56pm.

He is said to have operated the device over Gombak Base and Stagmont Camp within that time.

He is also accused of snapping a picture of another protected place, the Gali Batu Depot, that evening using his drone.

He was back at it 10 days later on Oct 19, allegedly operating the device along Dairy Farm Lane and flying it within 5km of Tengah Airbase aerodrome.

An eyewitness spotted the UA along Dairy Farm Lane near Bukit Panjang that day and alerted the police.

In a statement on Thursday, police said: "The police will not condone the flying of a UA in an unsafe and irresponsible manner, as it poses a risk to aviation and public safety and security.

"UA users should refer to the website or use the OneMap app to check the areas where the flying of a UA is not allowed unless a permit has been obtained.

"Members of the public who witness any unauthorised UA activity are advised to report their observations to the police."

From Feb 1 next year, certain UA users will need to obtain an unmanned aircraft basic training certificate or unmanned aircraft pilot licence to operate their devices in Singapore.

Wong's bail was set at $5,000 on Thursday and his case has been adjourned to Oct 29.

If convicted of flying the drone over Gombak Base, he can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000 for each charge.