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Hopes and fears: Zhang Dejiang visits Hong Kong

Police plan to jam drones during China state leader Zhang Dejiang’s visit

Former lawmaker accused of trying to disrupt visit with drone

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 May, 2016, 10:51pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2016, 10:48am

Police will break overhead drones by jamming their signals if they go anywhere near state leader Zhang Dejiang during his visit to the city, the Post has learned.

The revelation came after Shenzhen police busted a drone plot on Sunday, two days ahead of Zhang’s arrival.

Officers there alleged that the former lawmaker Tsang Kin-shing, now a member of the League of Social Democrats, ordered a drone from the mainland and used it to disrupt Zhang’s visit. But Tsang said it was for a different protest.

A police source said the force had considered technical options to stop drones trying to fly around the security zones.

“Police have looked into some devices that could release frequency signal and make such drones land immediately,” said the source, adding that officers from the Operations Wing had investigated such options about six months ago.

The source also said any flying objects during Zhang’s visit is banned totally, as the force had placed “counter-terrorism security measures.”.

The state leader will stay in the city from Tuesday until Thursday.

The busted plot sparked debate on the legality of using a drone to protests on normal days.

It was understood that Hong Kong police were unlikely to pursue any follow-up actions against Tsang.

That was because the purchase and even the use of drone in Hong Kong was legitimate.

But the source warned that operators might break other rules if any harm was done.

“Flying unmanned aircraft is not unlawful,” said the source.

“If explosive chemicals or weapons, instead of a camera, were hanged on the apparatus, that would be another story.”

He also said if the aircraft harmed a person, damaged a car or caused a traffic accident by flying too low, the operator still faced charges such as wounding or damaging property.

Under the law, flying unmanned aircraft systems weighing no more than 7kg required no prior permission from the Civil Aviation Department.

But operators are still governed by the aviation order and should not allow an aircraft to endanger any person or property.

The devices are also banned from the vicinity of the airport.