Model plane fans ignored ban for years, says park
Model aircraft enthusiasts have been defying a ban on using the area in Tseung Kwan O where a man was seriously injured by a radio-controlled helicopter at the weekend for years, according to Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, which owns the site.
Notices were posted five years ago to inform the public not to enter the land at Chun Wang Road, the government corporation said yesterday.
On Sunday, a helicopter hit Law Kwok-wah, 44, while he was flying model aircraft with friends. He was operated on at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was still in critical condition last night.
'Notices are posted at our vacant site to warn people not to enter the site without authorisation. But there is no security fence around the site,' the corporation said.
'We will ask people to leave our site if we ... think the activities they are carrying out would affect normal operation of the industrial estate,' it said, adding that it would seek help from police if trespassers refused to leave.
The chief safety officer of the Civil Aviation Department, Cheung Sau-tak, told a radio programme yesterday model enthusiasts could fly aircraft on an open area in Yuen Long.
'The site is in Tai Tong and it is very spacious,' he said.
The department reviewed regulations covering model aircraft from time to time, he said. Asked if anyone would be prosecuted over Sunday's accident, the department said it was still investigating.
Radio Control Soaring Society chairman Kenny Ma said that apart from concerns about suitable venues, flyers' safety also depended on proper use of radio frequencies. They had developed a system to avoid frequency conflicts.
'A piece of paper is posted at a venue where flyers gather and each of them writes down the frequency he is using and his contact number. Latecomers check the list so that frequency jams can be avoided,' he said.
'A latecomer can also call up those who are on the list to check and work out timeslots so they can share use of the same frequency.'
It was dangerous if a newcomer to the pastime did not know about the system and just started flying.
'When the same frequency is being used by two users, then it might cause danger to players. The worst scenario is if a player loses control of a plane and it crashes and hits others standing on the ground,' he said.
A spokeswoman for the telecoms watchdog Ofta said 50 frequencies had been allocated for users of radio-controlled equipment.