November 21, 2023
SINGAPORE – From Nov 21, cross-border unmanned aircraft (UA) operations will be prohibited unless they are issued a permit, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Nov 20.
Any UA operator found operating a device into or out of Singapore illegally will be liable to prosecution by the authorities. Offenders may be fined up to $50,000, jailed for up to two years, or both. This is a new framework for cross-border UA operations that supplements the existing one within Singapore that was introduced in 2015, said CAAS and SPF in a joint statement.
The authorities will also have powers to take down any unauthorised cross-border UA, or drones.
As technological advancements improved the capabilities, flight distance and endurance of UA, these devices are able to fly farther and carry larger payloads.
“Such flights may pose a danger to public safety and security. Globally, we have seen cases of UA disrupting airport operations, as well as being used for criminal activities, such as for smuggling, and to conduct terror attacks,” said the joint statement.
“In Singapore, we witnessed the use of UA for cross-border drug smuggling in 2020.”
In June 2020, four people were arrested for suspected drug trafficking via UA after unusual UA activity was detected in the vicinity of Kranji Reservoir Park.
A black bag attached to the UA contained substances suspected to be controlled drugs – about 278g of Ice – imported from Malaysia. The flight data retrieved from a suspect’s phone showed that the UA had flown from Kranji to Johor Bahru and back again to Kranji that day.
For more information on cross-border UA operations and permit applications, go to the CAAS website.