China authorities to severely punish Chinese travellers who disrupted flight

splashed on face
Thai air stewardess splashed with hot water on face – Image from Weibo social network

The Chinese authorities have vowed to severely punish Chinese travellers who threw hot water and noodles on a Thai flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane after they were unhappy with their seating arrangements.

China’s National Tourism Administration said over the weekend that the tourists had disrupted the flight, hurt other passengers and “badly damaged the overall image of the Chinese people”. The passengers – who were reportedly given token fines by Thai authorities – will  be “severely punished” for their actions and put on a database of unruly tourists.

“The administration’s move should be encouraged,” Su Haopeng, vice dean of the Law School at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing told the Global Times.

“As it is the first time they have clearly stipulated that public behaviour should be not only punished by law, but also regulated by a record system.”

More than 100 million people from China have travelled overseas this year, more than any other country. For years, tourism officials have been urging Chinese tourists to behave with civility when abroad and even President Xi Jinping, during a recent visit to the Maldives, asked the Chinese not to litter and destroy coral reefs.

In the latest incident involving Chinese travelers, photos and videos from a Thai AirAsia charter flight bound for Nanjing last Thursday were uploaded online by passengers on board the flight.

The passengers said a Chinese couple had berated a crew member of the budget airline before pouring hot water and throwing noodles at her. The flight returned to Bangkok and the pilot asked a group of four Chinese passengers to disembark.

They were reportedly upset after being told they could not sit together and even after a flight attendant had helped them change their seats.

Video of the incident

In the above video, a male passenger loudly threatened to bomb the plane. He later said the attendant was scalded by accident during a tussle over a receipt they had requested for the hot water.

After the plane turned back, the captain and the crew invited the passenger to discuss the situation and reached an amicable conclusion, Thai AirAsia said.

The passengers paid 50,000 Thai baht (SGD$1,988) in compensation to the air hostess, cited by Thai reports, while the female passenger who  threw the hot water was fined an additional 200 baht.