Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The wreckage of a drone was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. Supplied

Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district.

The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination, he said, in comments made three days after a commune resident spotted the drone with Chinese characters on a lawn near his house on Thursday evening.

Sokha said after receiving the report, the Command’s ad hoc committee went to the location to retrieve the wreckage.

However, the committee could not conclude the investigation as the parts were still to be examined in the capital.

“On Saturday, our experts further disassembled the drone and took the parts to Phnom Penh. It is still at Phnom Penh International Airport. We don’t know where the drone came from.

“A technician estimated the drone flew between six and eight hours and a Chinese character was seen on it. The technician said the drone can fly long ranges,” he said.

Sokha said the drone was coated in silver and had the markings “No 1701002”. It was five metres-long with a nine-metre wingspan but was not equipped with weapons or ammunition.

Commune chief Sok Cheng confirmed on Sunday that the drone fell some 7km from the location of economic land concessions of Chinese-owned company Union Development Group.

Having received the information on Friday, the police secured the location pending an inspection by the Ministry of National Defence.

“This is the first drone crash to be witnessed by residents. Fortunately, it crashed on vacant land and didn’t harm anyone. It took the residents by surprise but they were not frightened,” said Cheng.

Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana said on Sunday that CMAC officials had, on Friday, launched an onsite investigation lest the drone was equipped with explosive substances.

“CMAC specialists went to search for explosive substances but found none,” he said.

The Chinese Embassy in Cambodia could not be reached for comment on Sunday.