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Hong Kong International Airport

Man accused of flying drone to take photos in Hong Kong International Airport arrested

Suspect identified after his images of the restricted area were posted online

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 8:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 July, 2017, 10:20am

A 51-year-old man accused of flying a drone to take photographs in the restricted area of Hong Kong International Airport’s departure terminal last week was arrested upon his return to the city on Monday.

The Hongkonger was picked up at the airport after flying in from Tokyo around midday, police said.

He was arrested on suspicion of violating the Airport Authority Bylaw on flight safety. The offence carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a HK$50,000 fine.

Initial investigation showed the man was flying a drone to take photographs in the restricted area of the airport’s departure hall at about 1.30pm last Thursday before he took a flight to leave Hong Kong.

Police were alerted after his photos were posted on the internet. Detectives from the airport police district were then assigned to track him down.

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After being identified, the man was understood to have been placed on a list of persons wanted by police. He was intercepted by law enforcement officers at the airport at noon, and police found the drone in his luggage.

The incident has prompted police to ask members of the public not to fly model planes or drones to take photos inside the airport.

A police source said the man – who claimed to be a driver – had flown the drone near a boarding gate while waiting for a Tokyo-bound flight for a holiday.

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He posted the photos taken by the drone on his Facebook page, and they were quickly picked up by internet users and spread online.

An Airport Authority spokesman said it had been liaising with the police since the incident occurred and would continue helping in their investigation.

Additional reporting by Ernest Kao