Li Jin Ming, 41, from Yunnan, China admitted to the charge read out to him in Mandarin by the court interpreter on Thursday (Jan 25).
He committed the offence inside lavatory D, AirAsia AK5746 at 1.01pm on Jan 16, while the plane was heading to Tawau from Kuala Lumpur.
The charge, under the Civil Aviation Regulations 2016 carries a fine of not more than RM25,000 or jail not exceeding one year, or both, on conviction.
Magistrate Ferhansha Farene Mohd Ferdaus also ordered Li to be referred to the Immigration Department.
Earlier, prosecuting officer ASP Dayang Nur Azarinahwaty Ag Kachee urged the court to impose an appropriate sentence as a lesson to the accused and in the interest of the public, submitting that Li’s action was a safety risk that could endanger other passengers in the plane.
Li’s counsel Liew Hon Min told the court in mitigation, that it was the accused’s first flight abroad.
“During the flight to Tawau, the accused was not aware of the in flight smoking prohibition and there was no announcement on the ban in Chinese,” he said.
Liew said the case also received wide coverage as far as China.
“I have been made to understand that the authorities through China Tourism Board would also take action on my client upon his return to China,” said the counsel. - Bernama
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