At one point as a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a pilot.
That didn’t work out at all so I settled for the next best thing: drones
And then I realised their cost and need for a license so I never ended up getting one. Such is life.
On the bright side, this means I won’t get implicated in any drone-related potential crimes.
Flying Drone Into MINDEF
It might look cool in the movies, but it’s still a crime.
According to CNA, Neo Wei Ren, 35, was accused of flying a drone over a protected Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) base seven times.
He even tried to take pictures and if you weren’t sure before, taking pictures of army bases is a no-no unless you have permission.
Neo was charged on 9 June with 16 counts under the Air Navigation Act and Air Navigation Order.
These include taking photos of a protected area with his drone, flying a drone without the required permit and flying a drone over a protected area.
The guy basically violated almost every drone law he could violate.
Started A Year Ago
Neo either really had nothing to do or just really wanted to test the law
He first flew a DJI Mavic Pro over Gombak Base at about 12.35 pm on 18 May 2019.
He then repeated this on 26 May and 30 June 2019. Then on 11 Aug that same year, Neo got really confident.
He allegedly flew the drone from 31 Cashew Crescent over Gombak Base and took a picture of the base with the drone around 5 pm.
He allegedly did this again on 25 Aug, 6 and 13 October again with photos taken each time.
However, a police report was lodged the last time, claiming an unmanned aircraft was seen flying in the immediate vicinity of the MINDEF Gombak Base.
Neo got exposed for all the illegal flying and was also found to not have a permit.
Neo will return to court to plead guilty on 1 July this year. If convicted, he faces penalties of up to two years’ jail and fines of up to $50000.
I want to tell you the tale ends here but there are more illegal fliers to be caught.
More Flight Crimes
Cue Lee Soon Tee, 66, who was also caught for similar reasons.
He once flew a 734g drone without a permit at an open field in Tampines Industrial Avenue 2, within 5km of an aerodome.
Which by the way, is illegal according to OneMap’s flight guidelines.
Lee thought he did not need to register his drone or obtain a permit as the box it came in indicated that the drone weighed less than 250g.
Lee claims that even though the wind blew the drone away, it wasn’t “high enough to cause any interference with aircraft operation”.
He’ll return to court on 30 June, just a day before Neo.