Briton held for smoking, bad behaviour during flight


  • Nation
  • Friday, 11 Apr 2003

BY NELSON BENJAMIN

SEPANG: A 36-year-old British national was arrested for smoking and unruly behaviour on board a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Boeing 747 aircraft from Johannesburg, after it touched down at KL International Airport here on Wednesday. 

The passenger had lit a cigarette minutes before the plane landed at KLIA at about 8am. 

Aircraft cabin crew with the assistance of other worried passengers managed to coax the holiday-maker to put out the cigarette. 

The aircraft captain reported the matter to the control tower and several MAS security personnel were dispatched to the docking bay to detain the passenger before handing him over to police. The man’s friends continued their trip to Thailand. 

Sepang OCPD Supt Zahedi Ayob confirmed the arrest and added that investigations were under way. 

Initial investigations showed that the foreigner arrived in Malaysia to board a transit flight to Thailand. 

However, during the long-haul flight from South Africa, he had several alcoholic drinks and began disturbing other passengers in the economy class. 

The cabin crew were forced to intervene and asked the foreigner to move to another seat. Within minutes the man had gone into the toilet and allegedly smoked for several minutes before the stewards asked him to return to his seat. 

The man, in a show of defiance, lit a cigarette and started puffing into the faces of other passengers despite repeated advice from cabin crew that it was a non-smoking flight. 

The man finally put out his cigarette when all the passengers were asked to return to their seats and fasten their seat belts as the aircraft was descending for its final approach into KLIA.  

The case is being investigated under Section 73 (2) of the Civil Aviation Regulation 1996. 

Last year ,a 31-year-old Arab businessman was detained for a similar offence. 

Police have arrested about a dozen foreigners, mainly businessmen, from Britain, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Pakistan, India and Australia for assault, making threats, smoking and molesting crew members during long-haul flights since last year. 

A MAS spokesman said the airline would not tolerate such behaviour as it might cause injury, distress, discomfort and danger to the other passengers, crew or aircraft.  

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