Authorities in Kazakhstan’s unofficial oil capital, Atyrau, dispersed a wedding party after using a drone to discover well-wishers on a 90-strong guest list.

According to media reports, the party was held at a secure retreat compound, known as Atameken, popular with local oil businessmen, in defiance of coronavirus restrictions.

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To ensure the strict privacy of its VIP guests, Atameken is surrounded by a high fence and marine transport containers, stacked upon each other, while its long dining hall contains no windows.

Authorities had no choice other than to launch the drone to see what was happening in the internal courtyard of the compound.

They said an administrator on duty in Atameken was fined 671,000 tenge ($1600) for agreeing to open the facility for the wedding party.

In comments on the website of a local newspaper, readers went as far as suggesting that the marriage was reported to authorities by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend of the bride who had been dealt another insult by not being invited to the celebration.

Since 2 August, Kazakh authorities have banned mass public gatherings in the capital, Nur-Sultan and four other major cities, including Atyrau, in attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19. They suggested that if you want to hold a party, do it online.

Despite having used Russian-made and locally developed vaccines for months, the number of Covid-19 cases has been on sharp rise in the Atyrau region and the Tengiz oilfield that it hosts.