Chinese passenger fined for stealing life jacket thought to be 'souvenir' from Cathay Pacific plane

The 64-year-old woman had taken the life jacket while on a Cathay Pacific flight from Taipei to Hong Kong.
The 64-year-old woman had taken the life jacket while on a Cathay Pacific flight from Taipei to Hong Kong. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A Hong Kong Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (Dec 1) found a 64-year-old woman from mainland China guilty of stealing a life jacket from a plane.

She was fined HK$2,000 (S$364).

The woman, who is from China's Shaanxi province, was on board a Cathay Pacific Airways flight to Hong Kong from Taipei on Monday when she committed the offence, said local media reports.

Officials found the jacket, which was worth HK$350, stuffed in her luggage at the security counter and she was later arrested.

In court, the woman claimed that she was not aware that what she did was illegal. She had assumed it was a souvenir and had wanted to bring it back home.

Unimpressed by her claim of ignorance, however, the magistrate found that she was "too greedy". He also said the crime was exacerbated by the fact that a passenger's life could have been put in danger if Cathay Pacific did not realise that one of the plane's life jackets had gone missing.

When the defence tried to argue that it was up to the airline to check on its life jackets, Apple Daily reported the magistrate as saying: "Even the airline couldn't predict that someone would be so out of line as to steal a life jacket."

Despite claiming that she did not have enough money on her to pay the fine, she was forced to pay up when she was told she could be jailed for a week instead.