A French tourist arrested last week for flying a drone near the Burmese parliament could be sentenced to three years in prison under the country's stringent unmanned aerial vehicle laws.
The 27-year-old Frenchman Michel Desclaux could be accused of illegally bringing a drone into the country and driving one in a restricted area, said Min Tin, a police officer in the Burmese capital, Naypyitaw. An image of Desclaux's passport circulating in the Burmese media was called Arthur.
A French tourist arrested earlier this month after allegedly flying a drone near Parliament was facing a prison term of up to three years in prison under the country's stringent unmanned aerial vehicle laws. (MINZAYAR OO / New York Times archive photo)
Burma's severe drone restrictions have led to complaints that visitors wishing to shoot scenic spots can easily find themselves in violation of the law. Drones are forbidden in many parts of the capital; in most of Rangoon, the largest city in Burma; and near a palace in Mandalay.
Nor can they be flown near airports, gatherings of people or on or near private properties without permission.
Due to flight restrictions, Desclaux could be sentenced to three months in prison. The law limiting the importation of drones is punishable by up to three years.
Some critics say the rules should be more widely advertised to visitors, who may not be aware of it.
"In some places in Burma, we can not fly drones, but the country should have posted opinions," said Ye Tun Aung, who sells drones in Mandalay, adding that the country's airports do not adequately warn the country. 39, ban on drones.
A small sign on the portal of Burmese parliament where Desclaux was arrested explains that drones are forbidden, but that it is in Burmese language, with only the word "drone" in English.
In 2017, two foreign journalists, a Burmese journalist and their driver were arrested while driving a drone in Naypyitaw. Their arrest was condemned by press freedom advocates as an example of the Burmese government using criminal investigations to thwart any critical coverage.
The journalists were working on a documentary for Turkish public television shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the army's crackdown on the Rohingya minority as "genocide".
Journalists – Mok Choy Lin, a journalist from Malaysia; Lau Hon Meng, Singapore cameraman; Ko Aung Naing Soe, Burmese journalist; and Hla Tin, their driver – have served a two-month prison sentence, but the authorities have abandoned the plan to accuse both foreigners of a violation of the immigration rules and four laws of # 39; import.
Drones have wreaked havoc on international travel in recent months. In December, more than 1,000 flights were canceled or diverted from Gatwick Airport, near London, after drones were reported near the runway. Police said that they did not know who drove the drone (s) in the area or why.