HONG KONG - In the latest controversy involving Chinese tourists, a group of mainland travellers surprised Singapore Airlines (SIA) staff when they refused to hand over 30 sets of stainless steel tableware during a recent flight, Chinese media reported.
It was only after repeated warnings from a tour guide that the passengers agreed to hand them back to flight attendants, South China Morning Post reported, citing Qianjiang Evening News.
The Chinese passengers were on a tour of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. While onboard the SIA flight, they had intended to keep the stainless steel knives and forks provided during a meal, the report said.
It was not clear when the incident took place. According to the report, the tourists were mainly from a small town in Zhejiang province.
The flight attendants told the tourists the stainless steel tableware could not be kept because it was going to be re-used - unlike plastic disposable items.
But the tourists refused to hand them over. They said that relatives who had flown with SIA in the past told them they could keep the tableware, the report said.
The astonished flight attendants then asked a Chinese tour guide for help. The incident finally ended when the tour guide told the tourists they were hurting China's image abroad.
"Stop hurting the reputation of Chinese people," he said.
The travellers then handed back the tableware, the report said.
The incident follows a number of reports this year on bad behaviour overseas by Chinese travellers. This includes a widely reported incident where a Chinese boy carved his name on a 3,000-year old precious relic during a trip to Egypt.
This prompted China's deputy premier Wang Yang to state publicly that Chinese tourists should improve their behaviour overseas.