SINGAPORE — Flying unmanned aircraft (UA) across borders into or out of Singapore without a permit will be prohibited from Tuesday (21 November), said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in a joint statement on Monday.
UA refers to any aircraft that can be controlled without a person on board, such as radio-controlled aircraft, drones, and remote-controlled kites. Authorities will now have the powers to intercept unauthorised cross-border UAs or drones.
Anyone caught operating a UA into or out of Singapore without authorisation may face prosecution, including fines of up to $50,000 and/or imprisonment for up to two years.
New framework introduced to safeguard public safety and security
According to the joint statement by CAAS and SPF, this new framework for cross-border UA operations supplements the existing framework, which was introduced in 2015 for operations within the country.
The expansion of UA capabilities, including improved flight range and payload capacity due to technological advancements, may present a risk to potential public safety and security.
“Globally, we have seen cases of UAs disrupting airport operations, as well as being used for criminal activities, such as for smuggling, and to conduct terror attacks. In Singapore, we witnessed the use of UA for cross-border drug smuggling in 2020,” the joint statement stated.
UA-enabled suspected drug trafficking in June 2020
In June 2020, authorities arrested four individuals suspected of drug trafficking through a UAdetected near Kranji Reservoir Park.
The UA carrying a black bag was found to contain suspected controlled substances, approximately 278g of Ice, believed to have been imported from Malaysia.
Flight data obtained from a suspect’s phone indicated that the UA had travelled from Kranji to Johor Bahru and returned to Kranji on the same day.
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