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Cathay offloads 'unruly' consul
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on April 24, 2012, 9:04 pm

(By Rudy Santos, Philstar.com, 24 Apr 2012)

A Hong Kong-bound Cathay Pacific flight turned back shortly after takeoff yesterday from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and was delayed by half an hour to offload what airline crew said was an “unruly” honorary Filipino consul.

 Businessman Francis Chua was offloaded because he refused to fasten his seatbelt, Cathay Pacific said.

The airline said Chua, an honorary consul of Peru, introduced himself as a special Philippine envoy to China for trade and investment. Such appointments, given by the Arroyo administration, were scrapped by President Aquino when he assumed power.

Cathay Pacific cabin crew said Chua, also known as Ang Biao, was asked to fasten his seatbelt as the aircraft taxied for takeoff at noon.

When he refused, the crew alerted the pilot, Captain Brian Hall, and flight officer Warren Hayman, who decided to turn the plane around.

As the Boeing 747 returned to the airport terminal, Chua left his seat and reportedly climbed up the spiral staircase to the upper deck and tried to enter the cockpit, in an apparent attempt to talk to the pilot.

A struggle reportedly ensued as the cabin crew restrained Chua from entering the cockpit.

Upon being offloaded, Chua was brought to the Police Center for Aviation Security where he was investigated.

Superintendent Manuel Pintado, senior chief of the police center, said under Republic Act 9497, which created the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Chua could be held liable for a terrorism-related offense.

Chua was to be brought to the CAAP office, but until late yesterday afternoon, no formal complaint against him had been filed. Sources said several individuals were interceding on his behalf.

Flight CX-900 finally left for Hong Kong at 2:30 p.m.

Cathay Pacific filed a report, declaring: “Chua was an unruly passenger, who would not obey any command from the cabin crew. Verbal warning was given but to no avail. Return to (parking) bay to offload passenger. Passenger was repeatedly asked to fasten seatbelt but he refused and then during the taxi back to bay, he climbed the stairs to the upper deck to gain entry to the cockpit. He was prevented from doing so by cabin crew.”

Born in Jinjiang, Fujian, China, Chua is an honorary president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. and president emeritus of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Foundation.

He is president of Philippine Satellite Corp. and vice chairman of Mabuhay Satellite Corp.


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