A court has fined a Chinese student $3,500 for taking drone photos and videos of his girlfriend at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.
Xu Zi Zhou, 25, was using the DJI Mavic Air 2 to photograph his girlfriend at NTU’s Yunnan Garden on June 1, 2021, when his flight was intercepted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
The drone came onto CAAS’s radar since the sprawling heritage park where Xu was flying at an altitude of 518.37 feet is located within a 5 km range of the Tengah military airbase. It was identified using the DJI AeroScope drone detection platform.
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A team was immediately dispatched to the Yunnan Garden to catch the operator and get the drone to land. When the officials checked the drone logs, they found that Xu had flown the aircraft five times that day with a total flight time of 18 minutes.
In Singapore, a Class 2 Activity Permit is required for all outdoor drone activity if the aircraft weighs less than 25 kg and is to be used for recreational purposes. The same permit is also applicable when a drone is to be flown higher than 200 feet above mean sea level or within 5 km of any civil aerodrome or military airbase.
Xu had not applied for the permit whose violation could have cost him jail time of up to two years, a fine of up to $35,000, or both.
When the case came before the court last week, Xu pleaded guilty to flouting drone regulations, following which he was slapped with a $3,500 fine.
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Interestingly, a promotional video of the Yunnan Garden that NTU has posted on its YouTube channel is also taken by a drone. But the university would have naturally applied for a permit before capturing the footage:
The NTU case comes only weeks after a Singaporean man was fined a whopping $37,000 for unlawfully flying a DJI Mavic 2 Zoom near the Tengah airbase. In that case, the drone was found to be directly within the flight path of the runway, because of which two incoming military aircraft had to be rerouted.
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