An Australian man arrested for allegedly going on a violent drunken rampage on a China Southern Airline flight to Vancouver appeared in Richmond Provincial Court this morning to face charges of causing a disturbance, mischief and assault.
Abdul Zain Ali, 25, was arrested by Richmond RCMP after the flight arrived from Guangzhou on Sunday morning. He was held overnight in jail and has not yet been released.
Relatives of Ali were also in court this morning. Most stayed silent outside when asked by reporters what happened, save for one woman who said Ali is doing okay.
RCMP were called to the airport on Sunday morning after the pilot reported a passenger was acting violently and had to be restrained.
Allegedly drunk before take-off
Passenger Tanya Truong told CBC News that the man was behaving strangely even before he boarded the plane at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, but the trouble began about halfway through the 11½-hour flight.
'He ran down the aisles, screaming and yelling at someone' - Passenger Tanya Truong
"Everyone was asleep and the lights were turned off in the plane, and he ran down the aisles, screaming and yelling at someone and alarming everyone and waking everyone one up.”
After about an hour or two of the flight attendants keeping watch on him in the back of the plane, first in the kitchen area and then in the back row seated with one of the flight attendants, things apparently got worse.
"Several people had to, kind of like, sit on top of him, and then he was handcuffed," she said.
Man pleads guilty in 2nd incident
Meanwhile RCMP Cpl. Stephanie Ashton said another man recently pleaded guilty to causing a disturbance in a second unrelated incident, after he also got drunk, and then became aggressive on board a domestic flight departing Vancouver.
On Jan. 23 Peter Douglas Lafond, 42, was arrested by two off-duty police officers from Winnipeg and Saskatoon who jumped in to assist when the man refused to leave the plane because he was too drunk to fly.
Lafond was given a conditional discharge for causing a disturbance and has conditions not to be in any airport within 24 hours of consuming alcohol.
"The message to the public is that if you get drunk and cause problems in our airports, you won't get where you are going and could face criminal charges" Ashton said.