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A Singaporean journalist, Lau Hon Meng, working for Turkish state media has been charged by the Myanmar police for allegedly breaching import laws after flying a drone over the country’s parliament.
It is understood that another Malaysian journalist, Mok Choy Lin, and two other Burmese locals who were working with Lau were also charged, reports South Morning China Post via New Straits Times.
The men will be held in remand until their first court hearing, and the charges carry up to three years’ jail or a fine for the import and export of ‘restricted or banned goods’ without a licence.
Deputy police colonel Kyaw Moe said:
“We have opened a case against all four – two foreigners and two Burmese.
"They will be held on remand until Nov 10.”
Both Lau and Mok were arrested last Friday (Oct 27) in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw while covering an assignment for Turkish state broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television.
They were working with two locals, renowned Myanmar journalist Aung Naing Soe who served as an interpreter and driver Hla Tin.
The Myanmar ministry of information said in a statement on Saturday (Oct 28) that the Singaporean and Malaysian embassies have each been informed about the detention.
The incident also comes in light of rising tension between Myanmar and Turkey over the latter’s criticism of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.
Already, several journalists have been arrested in Myanmar this year, sparking fears that there will an erosion of press freedom.