7 drones grounded, 9 operators arrested

Most of the drones were flown over nomination centres for the upcoming election to take aerial pictures of the crowds.

KUALA LUMPUR: Police today “grounded” seven drones flown over nomination centres in four states and arrested nine men who had operated them.

Three of the drones had been flown in Bangi and Shah Alam in Selangor by three men, two in Merbok and Langkawi in Kedah, one in Bukit Gantang in Perak, and one in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

In SHAH ALAM, Selangor police chief Mazlan Mansor said police picked up two men, aged 33 and 41, close to the nomination centre at Dewan Besar Tanjong MBSA in Section 19, Shah Alam, and another man near the centre at Dewan Demense in Bandar Baharu Bangi, Kajang, for flying the drones in a restricted area without a permit from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).

“A preliminary investigation showed that the 33-year-old man was a goat breeder and the other worked at a government-owned company,” he said at the Selangor police headquarters.

He said the civil aviation regulations provided for a fine of up to RM50,000 and a jail term of up to three years, or both, for the offence.

In TAIPING, Taiping district police chief ACP Mohamad Taib said two men, aged 19 and 21, were picked up after they flew the device over the area where the BN supporters had gathered near the nomination centre for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat at the Advanced Technology Training Centre (ADTEC) there.

“The men were taken to the Taiping police station and released on police bail,” he said.

In ALOR SETAR, Kedah police chief Zainal Abidin Kassim said police detained two men in their 20s in Merbok and Langkawi for operating drones in prohibited areas.

“We have recorded their statements,” he said.

Zainal also said that the drones were handed over to the CAAM for further action.

In KOTA BHARU, two men were detained near Dewan Jubli Perak of the Kota Bharu Municipal Council after they were believed to have operated a drone to take photographs and videos of the nomination centre and the surrounding areas.

Kelantan police chief Hasanuddin Hassan said the men, in their 20s, said they had flown the drone just for the fun of it.

Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Department director Zulkifli Abdullah said yesterday the use of drones and paragliding machines over or near nomination centres nationwide was strictly forbidden due to security reasons.