A Chinese National was arrested in Kolkata on Sunday for flying a drone over Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial and near Fort William headquarters of Army’s Eastern Command.
34-year-old Li Zhiwei who is reportedly from China’s Gudong was detained by the CISF posted at Victoria Memorial along with two women accompanying him. They were taken to Hastings police station. He was then produced in Bankshall court that remanded him in police custody until March 25. However, the two women who were with him were released.
The Chinese consulate in Kolkata has been informed about the incident.
The Victoria Memorial lies within a three-kilometre radius of the high-security zone around Fort William, the headquarters of the Army’s Eastern Command.
A senior police officer of Kolkata police said, “On March 16, Chinese national Li Zhiwei (34) entered the Victoria Memorial along with an iPhone and a drone camera. He was detained by CISF personnel while he was flying drone on the premises. They brought him to Hastings Police Station and submitted a letter of complaint. Later the police arrested him and launched an investigation.”
According to legal experts, though one can own a drone in India but cannot fly it without a number of permissions from authorities. And flying a drone in restricted areas, like the Chinese citizen did, leads to a serious offence.
Li has been booked under the Indian Penal Code sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servants), 268 (public nuisance), 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) and section 11A of the Aircraft Act 1934, which deals with punishment for non- compliance with Section 5A of the act.
Section 5A deals with the prohibition of the use of aircraft except under the authority of and in accordance with a licence. If convicted, he can be jailed for two years.
The Police have, however, said it was possible that he did not know the rules and added that they were questioning him to find out why he operated the drone. It is possible that the Chinese national did not know that the entire maidan area where Victoria Memorial is located is army property, and used the drone to take photographs of the monument as a tourist.
Meanwhile, the army had sought a report from the police about the images captured by the drone.