16:38 GMT +320 July 2019
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    An employee from DJI Technology Co. demonstrates the remote flying with his Phantom 2 Vision+ drone in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province.

    Attack of the Drones: Chinese Tourists Arrested for Flying UAVs in France

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    China’s embassy in France had to remind Chinese tourists to follow local laws after a few tourists were arrested for illegally flying drones at renowned landmarks in Paris.

    China is a world leader in the development of drones: more than 70 percent of the globe's drones are made in Shenzhen in southeastern China, and the Chinese domestic drone market is anticipated to reach $10.9 billion by 2025. 

    It seems some Chinese tourists are misusing the technology while vacationing.

    "A few Chinese tourists were recently arrested by French police and put under investigation for flying drones in Paris," the embassy said in a statement, according to the South China Morning Post.

    "The embassy reminds all visiting Chinese nationals and residents in France to abide by local laws, and to travel in a civilized manner," the statement added.

    In France, flying drones in cities without special permission from civil aviation authorities and police can result in a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a hefty $88,300 fine.

    French authorities recently increased security laws regarding drones after the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in 2015, carried out by the Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda, that killed 12 people and injured 11 others.

    In the weeks following the deadly attack at the satirical newspaper's offices, more than a dozen drones were seen flying over the US embassy, Bastille Square and the Eiffel Tower, raising concern over the use of unidentified UAVs.

    This is not the first time that tourists have been arrested in France for illegally flying drones.

    Just last month, a Chinese tourist was prosecuted in Paris for flying a drone with a camera over both a police station and the famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

    In 2014, a 24-year-old Israeli visiting France was fined almost $400 for flying a camera-equipped drone over Notre Dame. And only a year later, an Al-Jazeera journalist was fined almost $1,200 for flying a drone over Paris.

    Drones are also creating issues within China, with multiple accounts of drones flying in restricted airspace and disrupting normal airport operations.

    In April, more than 240 flights were interrupted and 10,000 travelers were delayed due to drones flying near Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport.

    A new policy was finally established in China on June 1 to improve sky safety, requiring people who own recreational drones weighing more than 250 grams to register their names with the country's civilian aviation regulator. 

    "Just like there is traffic regulation for cars, there ought to be regulation for those who operate their vehicles in the sky. Real-name registration will guide the drone industry in China towards a healthy development," said Sophie Pan, an analyst with Beijing-based International Data Company.

    Zhang Yiyi, the sales manager of drone maker Flypro Aerospace Tech, said that while the new laws are necessary, they will also temporarily decrease drone sales.

    "Most of the drone operators follow the rules but the policy can force the small group of those who don't comply to behave," she also added.

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    Tags:
    fines, tourist, Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral, illegal, drones, Paris, France, China
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