It’s fitting that drones should “take off” in Asia. After all, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, DJI, is based in China. And, for at least one police agency in Pakistan, UAVs provide the perfect solution for kite patrol – yes, kite patrol.
A bit of context: The annual festival of Basant, which celebrates the beginning of spring, has long involved a kite festival. While much of the festival is benign kite flights, the growth of kite fighting (in which opponents try to take down each other’s kite) has also been on the rise, resulting in injuries and death thanks to the abrasive wire used to cut kite line. As with any aerial display, spoilsports often use the occasion to shoot down kites, resulting in more injuries and skirmishes.
So, in 2014, Rawalpindi city officials banned kite flying during Basant – a ban which was largely ignored. This year, police officials are using their own aerial assault to enforce the Basant ban. You guessed it – drones.
City Police Chief Israr Ahmed Khan Abbasi told reporters that his force is using both on-the-ground spotters and DJI drones to locate errant kite runners. While police look to the skies, they are also using informants to uncover illegal kite dealers.
“The Basant [Kite Festival] has been completely banned in the city and no one will be allowed to celebrate the dangerous festival,” an unnamed spokesman said.
The crackdown apparently worked – police have already investigated 400 drone-assisted cases of kite violators, according to GeoTV.
However, some Pakistani citizens fear the drone deployment may lead to more serious repercussions.
“Citizens … are upset that by employing camera-equipped drones allowing them to see inside homes is violating the sanctity and privacy of private residences,” reports GeoTV. “Citizens have also demanded that the police should crackdown against those selling kites instead of those flying kites, adding that if kites are not available no one will fly them.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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