BANGKOK, 10 January 2018: Drone users who had fail to register their devices in Thailand by Tuesday could now face up to five years in jail or a USD3,000 fine.

The tough new rules could hit tourists and media alike, particularly photographers and social media bloggers.

The regulations, which were announced in October but take effect this week, cover nearly all forms of drone use from commercial and recreational to scientific.

Anyone using an unregistered drone after Tuesday risks a 100,000 baht (USD3,100) fine or a maximum of five years’ imprisonment, according to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Office.

“All type of drones except toy drones must be registered,” an NBTC official told AFP, exempting unmanned aerial vehicles under 250 grams (eight ounces) — which tallies with new US rules.

Thailand says it has registered almost 8,000 unmanned aerial vehicles so far, a process that requires users to obtain a licence from the Civil Aviation Authority.

The rule comes as Thailand is enjoying its annual peak tourist season. Tourist arrivals reached more than 35 million in 2017 and are forecast to hit 37 million in 2018.

Governments in the region and across the world are struggling to play catch-up with an industry that often moves ahead of regulations.

In November Myanmar sentenced three journalists and their driver to two months in prison for operating a drone near parliament while shooting a documentary.

© Agence France-Presse



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