A Vietnamese national was sent to the National Police’s Anti-Cybercrime Department on Sunday for further questioning after he was arrested for allegedly flying a remote-controlled drone over the house of Prime Minister Hun Sen, which was designated a no-drone zone the very same day.
The National Police identified the man as Le Ngoc Tu, 27, a Vietnamese passport holder who entered the Kingdom as a temporary visitor. He has been staying at a hotel in the same district, it added.
Chaktomuk commune police chief Chuob Sokun said on Monday that the man was apprehended at about 1pm on Sunday.
He noted that the police have yet to identify the man’s motive for flying the drone in the prohibited area. Sokun said the man controlled the drone while standing on the street near Wat Langka.
“We have put up signs informing that the area is a no-drone zone. However, the man claimed that he had not seen any of them,” he said, adding that police did not see anyone else involved at the scene apart from the man.
Anti-Cybercrime Department director Chea Pov could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Som Sinin, the department’s deputy director, declined to elaborate on the case but merely said his team is investigating the case.
During the arrest, police found a camera drone, mobile phone, remote controller, tripod and microphone, among other evidence, in the man’s possession.
Similarly, in February last year, a Frenchman was detained for flying his drone and filming over Hun Sen’s house.
In November, the Phnom Penh Municipal Hall issued a statement reminding residents to not fly drones in certain areas in the capital, particularly around the flight paths of aircraft that are landing and taking off.
Reiterating a 2016 notice, the government said it has rationalised that implementation of the ban was “to ensure respect for the people’s privacy as well as to maintain security, safety and public order”.
Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng said the restriction was aimed to “avoid inadvertent danger due to drone flying”.
The municipal hall banned flying drones without a permit in 2016 after a German tourist flew his drone over the Royal Palace and was spotted by Queen Mother Norodom Monineath as she performed her daily exercise routine.