Asia-Pacific

Myanmar releases journalists arrested after flying a drone

Malaysian journalist Mok Choy Lin, left, and Singaporean journalist Lau Hon Mengexit a police van. Source: AAP

Two journalists arrested and charged in Myanmar for flying a drone over parliament have been released after two months in custody.

Two journalists and their two local staff have been released from a Myanmar prison, two months after their arrest for allegedly flying a drone over the parliament.

Singaporean Lau Hon Meng and Malaysian Mok Choy Lin were working for the Turkish state broadcaster TRT when they were arrested October 27 in the capital, Naypitaw.

A court dropped additional charges against them, their local interpreter Aung Naing Soe and driver Hla Tin. They had been scheduled for release on January 5 after serving a two-month prison sentence for illegally flying a drone, but were freed early.

Their lawyer said authorities dropped more the serious charges of importing a drone without permission and immigration violations against the foreigners after concluding they did not intent to endanger national security.

Authorities also wanted to maintain good diplomatic relations with the countries of the two journalists, he said.

In a separate case Wednesday, a court extended the detention of two Reuters journalists and set their trial for January 10 on charges of violating state secrets.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested December 12 for acquiring "important secret papers" from two policemen. The police officers had worked in Rakhine state, where abuses widely blamed on the military have driven more than 630,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh. The charges are punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

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