The Ministry of Interior secretary of state Bun Hun led a consultative meeting on Tuesday concerning the draft of a sub-decree which will regulate the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.

Officials are concerned that without regulation, drone usage could be harmful to national security.

The deputy head of the ministry’s Legislation Council Pang Rasy told The Post on Wednesday that there was no clear legal document governing the operation of drones.

“This is just only the beginning of the preparation, it is not completely done yet,” he said.

He said when the sub-decree is drafted, it will simplify guidelines for drone users.

“Once we have the sub-decree, the user won’t have to worry about the rules. We will make it easy for them. Now, they do not know where to ask for a licence and there are no laws. When we do not have laws, it makes it difficult for the user,” he said.

Hun said at the meeting that the draft sub-decree has been in discussion since July last year.

“The draft of this sub-decree is really important, as there is no clear regulation nowadays. If unmanned aerial vehicles are used in the agricultural or commercial sectors, they are not a concern, but if they are used to affect national security, that is a serious concern,” Hun said.

He said the ministry will now meet with other relevant ministries and organisations such as the Ministry of National Defence and the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, to discuss how to improve the sub-decree.

The Ministry of Interior quoted Rasy as saying that the sub-decree is aimed at regulating all kinds of drones to ensure safety, security and public order in Cambodia.

It also aims to regulate the registration, production, authorisation, processing, and usage of drones.

In February 2015, the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall issued a letter banning the use of camera-equipped drones in Phnom Penh’s geographical area, because unauthorised captured footage could affect national security.

Two Chinese tourists were arrested in January this year for using a camera-equipped drone to capture scenes at the Royal Palace’s forbidden area.

They were released after the police reprimanded them and made them cease their activities.

Likewise, in April 2019, the capital’s Chey Chumneah commune police arrested a suspect for allegedly flying a camera-equipped drone in the Royal Palace garden.