A staff member holds a model helicopter in New World Department Store, Chaoyang district Monday. Customers must temporarily show ID before purchasing a model aircraft in Beijing. Photo: Li Hao/GT
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Beijing police have asked that residents who wish to buy remote control model aircraft must show their identification at time of purchase for safety concerns during the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
However, while some retailers are complying, the Global Times discovered that a number of vendors said they had not received notice of the new rule.
Yang Nuo, an employee at Beijing Lan Tian model aircraft shop in Zhongguancun, Haidian district, told the Global Times the shop has put up notiices reminding people to bring their ID card if they want to buy model aircraft.
"We were informed by the local police that people have to buy them with their ID, and foreigners should remember to bring their passport," Yang said.
But, said Yang, all their customers had shown understanding and patience during the new process.
According to Yang, local police will make similar requests every time there is a big meeting or event, such as the National Day on October 1.
An anonymous police officer from Zhongguancun police station in Haidian, told the Global Times the temporary rule was due to safety concerns during the upcoming National Congress of the CPC.
"We are adopting a stricter air control during the 18th National Congress. Customers who want to buy aircraft or remote control airplanes have to register their identity. You may ask Haidian district public security bureau (PSB) for further information," she said.
An officer from Haidian district PSB, who did not give his name, suggested customers should wait until the 18th National Congress of the CPC is finished before buying models.
"The control won't last long, so save your money for a few more days if you want to avoid trouble," he said.
In order to buy a remote control aircraft during the period of the 18th National Congress of the CPC, which commences on November 8, a customer should go to the vendor's local police station to register. When the buyer receives approval from the station's police chief, he can make the purchase, an anonymous officer from Aoyuncun police station in Chaoyang district said.
While the planes can be purchased, they cannot be flown in the city, and balloons are also on the blacklist, the officer said.
Pigeons must also stay in the coop during the 18th National Congress of the CPC, said a police officer from Chaoyang district PSB Monday.
However, many shops and toy markets said they have not been informed of the new regulation.
An employee surnamed Zhu from Fox Model, a model airplane shop in Guomao, Chaoyang district, said they have not received any request to ask customers for their identification. Another employee from a stall at Tianyi Market, Xicheng district, also said that they had not been informed. Remote control model aircraft are also still available on online shops, with no ID check required on shopping portals like Taobao and 360buy.com. In the New World Department Store in Wanda Plaza, Chaoyang district, two remote control helicopters were still on sale at midday Monday, and it was unnecessary to provide identification to purchase, the vendor said.
"People are free to buy them anytime," said the retailer, however later on Monday afternoon when the Global Times returned to the store, the models had been hidden from view.
But the New World Department Store in Shunyi district has posted a notice saying that identification is required to buy model aircraft, which was issued by Shunyi police, according to the Beijing Youth Daily Monday, .
Wang Xin, media officer from the Beijing Public Order Corps, said that a responsible officer would be in contact later regarding the regulation, but as of press time, they had not responded.
During the two sessions in March 2012, all model planes, advertising balloons and gliders were banned from being flown over the capital, the Beijing Daily reported on March 1. The no-fly zone extended 200 kilometers from Tiananmen Square, the report said.
This is also not the first time Beijing residents were asked to show ID before purchasing certain goods. In January, Beijing police said that ID was needed to buy controlled knives, which includes daggers and knives with blades longer than 150 millimeters, the Beijing Times reported.