China artist accused of throwing plastic cup at flight attendant on Cathay Pacific flight to HK

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747 passenger plane taxis upon landing at Hong Kong's international airport on Aug 6, 2011. An artist has pleaded not guilty in a Hong Kong court over allegations of assaulting a flight attendant on a Cathay Pacific flight fro
A Cathay Pacific Boeing 747 passenger plane taxis upon landing at Hong Kong's international airport on Aug 6, 2011. An artist has pleaded not guilty in a Hong Kong court over allegations of assaulting a flight attendant on a Cathay Pacific flight from Singapore to Hong Kong on Dec 10 last year. -- PHOTO: AFP 

AN artist has pleaded not guilty in a Hong Kong court over allegations of assaulting a flight attendant on a Cathay Pacific flight from Singapore to Hong Kong on Dec 10 last year.

The court heard this week that Lee Yuet-fung, an artist from mainland China famous for his tiger and bamboo paintings, threw a plastic cup at the flight attendant, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP)

The stewardess, Ms Lai Wing-man, said the artist did it because she was busy clearing food trays for passengers, and could not get him some water immediately, according to the SCMP.

She said she experienced some tenderness in her waist as a result of the incident.

However, Lee, 68, denied throwing the cup at the stewardess, but said he had dropped it onto the floor as his hands were shaking due to his diabetes, reported the SCMP.

He needed the water to take medicine, but Ms Lai took about 20 minutes to take it to him, he said.

"The job of flight attendants is to serve passengers. And I was a passenger with special needs," the SCMP quoted the artist as saying.

Lee, who has chosen to represent himself and thus did not hire a lawyer, was berated by the judge, Deputy Magistrate Jim Chun-ki, for his many errors in court, according to the SCMP.

For example, when made to take an oath to tell the truth, he said instead: "I, Lee Yuet-fung, did not throw the cup at Miss Lai."

He also cross-examined his accuser himself, but instead of asking questions, gave lengthy spiels proclaiming his innocence, which earned him a reprimand from the judge.

The artist also contradicted the prosecution over the colour of the cup in question, reported the SCMP, saying it was brown when prosecutors said it was red - then producing a grey cup, claiming that he wanted to give the court an example of the cup.

Finally, Lee called for closed-circuit television footage of the flight to be produced, saying "every case has CCTV".

Fed up with Lee's antics, the judge told him, according to the SCMP: "If you disrupt court proceedings, I will remand you in custody. Are you treating this place as a playground and saying whatever you want to say?"

The case was adjourned to April 9, whereupon the verdict will be out, the SCMP reported.

Outside the court house, Lee claimed he had shown some of his paintings to Taiwan politician Sean Lien, who ran for Taipei mayor in last year's Taiwan local elections. He even produced a few photos of him with Mr Lien.