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Hong Kong economy

Organisers of Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival cancel drone shows over GPS signal interference

  • Seven-minute segments featuring 100 aerial devices lighting up night sky are put on hold and police called in
  • Tourism Board apologises to visitors and says urgent repairs are being conducted
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 October, 2018, 12:05am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 October, 2018, 12:12am

Organisers of an annual wine and dine festival in Hong Kong called off drone performances on Saturday night and made a police report after GPS signal interferences to the aerial devices were detected.

The Tourism Board, which held the CCB (Asia) Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival, cancelled two shows at 6pm and 7.30pm as glitches surfaced soon after the first performance involving 100 drones at Central harbourfront and Tamar Park.

140,000 visitors expected for biggest Wine and Dine Festival

The machines were meant to light up the night sky with an array of LED colours, in an aerial choreography of animated patterns over Victoria Harbour. They would form the number 10 – to mark the 10th anniversary of the festival – and also the shape of a birthday cake.

“After initial checks, the GPS signals for the drones were found to be interfered [with] by external parties and the board reported the issue to police immediately,” organisers said in a press release.

Since the four-day festival began on Thursday, a seven-minute drone session was held each night at 7pm. One more performance was added on Saturday.

The board offered an apology to visitors. It said the drone system was being repaired urgently. Further announcements will be made.

The event features about 450 booths – 10 per cent more than last year. To mark the festival’s 10th anniversary, the board launched an online augmented reality game at the festival to hand out more than 3,000 gifts, valued at over HK$1.7 million (US$217,000).

The HK$41 million event was expected to draw about 140,000 people.