$2.5k fine for man who flew drone at NDP area

A full-time national serviceman who unlawfully flew a drone near the Singapore Flyer at last year’s National Day Parade (NDP) was fined $2,500 yesterday.

Tan Jin Kang, 21, committed the offence even though there were signs in the area telling people not to do so.

In the first case of its kind, the Singaporean pleaded guilty last month to possessing the prohibited device at the spot, which had been declared a “special event area” under the Public Order Act.

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

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

Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Teong had earlier told District Judge Christopher Goh that, by the time Sgt Lee saw the drone, it was on its descent to a spot along Raffles Avenue in front of the Singapore Flyer.

When he walked over to the spot, he saw Tan using a controller to operate the drone and told him to stop.

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

In his mitigation, Tan had told the court that he was not aware of the law and did not see the signs.

Pleading for leniency, he added that the signs were in red and “didn’t stand out” as they were “camouflaged” by the other red items associated with the NDP in the area.

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