Drone laws may take off soon



Security chief Lai Tung-kwok said the government is seriously concerned about the use of drones and will look into overseas laws when deciding on legislation to control their use.

“Regulating drones is the duty of the Civil Aviation Department. I believe if controls are necessary, they will explain to the public at the appropriate time,” Lai, the secretary for security, said.

The government is reportedly considering introducing legislation to regulate drone usage.

In some countries, flight safety systems are installed in drones to prevent them flying into sensitive or no-fly zones.

Owners are also required to register their names.

Under current regulations, pilotless craft weighing more than seven kilograms must be registered with the Civil Aviation Department.

Ding Zen, who owns drone company Zeta, said restricting drones from flying into restricted areas is feasible.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that some people will use drones with bad intentions,” Ding said yesterday.

But he has reservations about the compulsory registration of owners.

“They can buy the components and make their own drones … so this policy will be meaningless.”

Legislative Council information technology and broadcasting panel member Cyd Ho Sau-lan said legislation is necessary to protect citizens’ privacy because drones may be used to take photographs through the windows of high-rise homes.

A Civil Aviation Department spokeswoman said drone regulations are being reviewed. “With the popularization of small UASs [unmanned aircraft systems], the CAD will, taking into account the development of regulatory requirements of overseas aviation authorities and the specific circumstances in Hong Kong, review the operational parameters of and the regulatory policies on UASs and consider amending the relevant legislation as appropriate, in order to ensure public safety.”

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