Connect with us


Taking a drone to Myanmar? Declare it at Customs, or else.



Using the many new ‘toy’ drones – many under 40,000 baht and capable of being flown by anyone and shooting 4K video – is becoming public enemy #1 for some of Asia’s less tolerant governments.

In Thailand you now need to register your drone and get a license if you’re going to use it commercially. If you’re caught without the right paperwork you face time in jail and a hefty fine. In Myanmar there’s a much more draconian approach and some Singapore journalists are already in jail over footage they allegedly shot over the country’s parliament. The journalists claim they had the requisite permissions to shoot their footage. Voice of America has the rest of the story…

Three journalists and their driver could face up to three years in prison for allegedly violating Myanmar’s import-export law by bringing a drone into the country as part of a documentary they were doing for Turkish state television TRT.

Mok Choy Lin of Malaysia, Lau Hon Meng from Singapore, local journalist Ko Aung Naing Soe, and driver U Hla Tin were arrested in the capital Naypyidaw on October 26 after interviewing a legislator and then bringing out the drone to get aerial footage of the parliament building.

They already have been sentenced to two months in jail on a summary conviction for breaking the country’s 1934 Aircraft Law.

TRT says the journalists obtained all the required permits to do their story, but the arresting officer said they had not declared the drone when they entered the country.

In seeking to have the import charge dropped, their attorneys claim the four are being subjected to double jeopardy since they already had been convicted in the case. The next court date was set for Monday.

Speaking to journalists in the court, Mok Choy Lin said they were still in the dark about the legal process.

“We don’t know what’s going on. We don’t really understand their legal system,” she said. “We don’t understand their language and nothing is really explained to us. For the first week of remand, we weren’t even allowed to meet our family or lawyers.”

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged officials “to abandon the absurd proceedings.”

“The judicial authorities must drop these spurious charges, which are clearly being used to prevent journalists from doing their work,” said Daniel Bastard, head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “These two journalists and their co-workers should not have to suffer because of political and diplomatic circumstances.”

Myanmar has been criticized for the military’s actions in Rakhine state against minority Rohingya Muslims, who have claimed soldiers carried out rape and murder while burning their villages, sparking a mass exodus across the border into Bangladesh.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the term “genocide” in September, straining ties between the two countries.

Despite emerging from a military dictatorship and making moves toward democracy, the military remains a powerful force in the country. It has denied committing any abuses against the Rohingyas and says troops were responding to deadly attacks attributed to Rohingya extremists on security forces.

See the Myanmar Parliament, including drone footage, through the eyes of our friends at Coconuts.


PHOTO & VIDEO: Coconuts


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand34 mins ago

Explore Thailand’s least visited city in the South!

Pattaya48 mins ago

Newborn baby found in Pattaya trash can

Crime1 hour ago

Poll examines sexual violence causes, definitions

Sponsored2 days ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

Drugs2 hours ago

Four members of drug gang arrested in Nakhon Si Thammarat

North East2 hours ago

Military mum calls for justice over slain son

Tourism2 hours ago

Why aren’t tourists returning to Khao San Road?

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime3 hours ago

A burglar, in a hole, in the roof, in the night

Drugs3 hours ago

Drug policy outlines by PM, cash rewards to police in busts

World Cup4 hours ago

World Cup to be shown in Thai prison

Economy5 hours ago

UK exports to Japan slump after ‘landmark’ free trade deal

Thailand6 hours ago

Try These Weird Thai Foods… If You Dare

World23 hours ago

Thai gangs traffic Kenyans to Myanmar scam factories

South1 day ago

Deep South emergency decree extended 3 months

Thailand1 day ago

Why Is Thailand So Cheap?

Expats1 day ago

Phuket’s 5 best golf courses

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11