Woman gets fine for theft of airplane life jacket

HONG KONG • A woman from China has been fined HK$2,000 (S$364) by a magistrates' court after being found guilty of stealing a life jacket from a plane.

The court in Hong Kong heard on Tuesday that the 64-year-old 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, according to local media reports.

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

The woman claimed in court that she was not aware that what she did was illegal. She had assumed it was a souvenir and had wanted to take 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 she did not have money to pay the fine, she was forced to pay when she was told she could be jailed for a week instead.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2015, with the headline 'Woman gets fine for theft of airplane life jacket'. Print Edition | Subscribe