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Chinese tourist Wong Figa (centre) was arrested for operating a camera-equipped drone near the Royal Palace on Saturday.
Chinese tourist Wong Figa (centre) was arrested for operating a camera-equipped drone near the Royal Palace on Saturday. Photo supplied

Tourist busted flying drone next to palace

A Chinese tourist was arrested in Phnom Penh on Saturday afternoon after he used a drone to take pictures in front of the Royal Palace.

Wong Figa, 40, acted without authorisation from authorities, said Ly Sarith, a penal police officer in Daun Penh district.

Wong confessed during questioning. Police confiscated his drone and made him sign an agreement not to do it again before releasing him.

In 2014, City Hall issued a ban on flying camera drones around buildings of national significance, including the Royal Palace, the Senate and the Council of Ministers.

That rule has since been broken. In June, US and French nationals were arrested for flying a camera drone over Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house and taking pictures. The pair was let off with a warning.

Colonel Houth Yourann, chief of Daun Penh district police, could not be reached for comment. Wong Figa was also unavailable for comment.

Cambodia lacks comprehensive rules governing the use of drones, according to Sinn Chanserey Vutha, the deputy director-general of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA).

As a result, drones are technically not supposed to be used anywhere in the Kingdom.

In an earlier interview, Vutha said SSCA is working to create a set of rules for the use of drones, with the help of the US Federal Aviation Authority, the International Civil Aviation Organization and private drone company SM Waypoint Co Ltd.

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