Indian Police Seize Drone Operated by Chinese National

A Chinese national was interrogated by police after they seized a drone which he allegedly tried to fly at Chennai’s popular  Marina beach without permission. 

Police spotted Qiang Su, 27, business manager at BYD Electronics, Orgadam, flying a drone on Marina Beach at 4 pm. Qiang was having a whale of a time, with a large group of onlookers gathering to watch him fly the drone, when a police team patrolling that stretch of beach took him in for questioning. He was apparently unaware that permission is required from police and the Directorate General of Civil Aviaton (DGCA) to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle of any size, even a drone.

“Qiang arrived in the country three years ago to work here. He came to Chennai around a month ago and stays in a hotel at Guindy,” an investigating officer said. “He purchased the drone online with some friends a few weeks ago.”

The Chinese national told police that he had bought the drone because he wanted to experience flying one. Police said they did not find anything suspicious in the footage from the drone’s camera but Qiang may face legal action nonetheless.

The officer said the Qiang was ignorant of the rules and was just trying out the drone in an open space. “We have not registered an FIR yet. We will conduct a probe before proceeding with the case,” a senior police officer said, adding that police are in the process of collecting details about Qiang.

“His passport, visa and other travel documents are in proper order,” the investigating officer said.

After last month’s incident, the Chennai police said it would be mandatory to obtain clearance from DGCA to fly a drone and an NOC from police to fly it in city limits as drones pose a potential threat to life and security. DGCA is formulating guidelines for the use of drones and the city police are drafting a detailed plan to keep a check on such remote-controlled miniature aircraft.

As the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is in the process of formulating regulations for certification and operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), flying a drone in India requires permission from DGCA and local police.

“A DGCA notification states that till such regulations are issued, no non-governmental agency, organisation or individual must launch an UAS in Indian civil airspace for any purpose,” Chennai Police Commissioner S George had earlier said.

Last month, a man was arrested after the drone equipped with a camera which he flew without permission fell on a private hotel here.

A complaint was filed on the incident and a case registered under sections 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 336 of the IPC Act (endangering the life or personal safety of others).

Sources: Business Standard; The Times of India

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