The Evil Woman With The Gucci Bag

On July 24, 2006, the following post appeared at the HKGolden forum:

(in translation) 

On July 7, Cathay Pacific flight CX 504 was scheduled to depart at 9:10am.
I got on the airplane at 8:45am and I fell asleep because I was too tired ...
At first, I felt the airplane moving and then it stopped on the runway for almost 15 minutes.
I next heard a stewardess announcing in Cantonese, Putonghua and English: 
"Will all passengers please place their hand luggage underneath their seats ... thank you for your cooperation!"
At the time, everybody began to look around for the troublemaker, but we did not see anyone ...

After another 15 minutes (it was 9:45am by then), there was another announcement.
This time, it was the pilot (in English, saying pretty much the same thing): "There are two passengers in economy class
who are unwilling to listen to the request from the cabin crew to place their hand luggage in the appropriate places.
That is why our departure has been delayed.  Please excuse us for the inconvenience!"

At that moment, everybody on the airplane was in an uproar spiced by foul language (I joined in that part too).  As everybody looked hard for the culprit, 
we suddenly saw that the air stewardesses and stewards rushing nervously to and fro.
I heard one of them said: "Open a door for them to enter ..."
After a while, I saw three to four airport security persons plus two senior airline officials approach the back of the plane.
The culprit has finally been identified ...

This person is not an old man or woman, or a mainland compatriot.  It was a twenty- or thirty-something Hong Kong woman with OK looks.
Actually, matters have gone to the point where this XXX woman (pardon me for calling her that, but she was really incoherent) is going to have to get off the airplane.
They talked for another 15 minutes but she refused to leave and argued about why she had to leave.
This is really XXX ...

It is now 10am and finally the saviors have arrived.
Three police officers appeared and advised the female to get off the airplane herself.
But the woman kept using "stalling tactics" and refused to leave.
She reiterated to the police inspector that she has taken the same plane before and never had to put her bag underneath the seat,
So why this time?
The inspector lost his patience (and he was quite blunt): "... Miss, I am giving you a final chance.
If you don't cooperate, we are going to have to place you under arrest!"

When she heard that, she folded and quickly picked up the gold/silver/jewelry-filled
HK$5,XXX luxurious Gucci Jolicoeur bag and began to walk out of the cabin.
All the people on the airplane then clapped their hands excitedly to see her off (to the accompaniment of some English foul language).
But she was quite stubborn and told us: "It was not my fault.  The cabin crew was too rigid.
My bag is only a couple of inches over-sized and they wanted me to put it underneath the seat."
One must really say XXXX multiplied by 1,000,000 times ...
Two of her friends also left the airplane with her.
She really created an inconvenience everybody else.
The air stewardesses and stewards had to check everything again
and we did not leave until 10:20am (more than one hour late, it's really XXXX her).

Later on, the Japanese woman sitting next to me asked:
"Do you know the nationality of that woman?"
I can only said, "It was a Chinese!"

I have taken photos from that day (see Yahoo! Album).
If any of you know her, 
Please teach her some rules for the next time when she flies!

On July 31, 2006, the following story appeared in The Sun.

(in translation)

Following the case of Bus Uncle, another ugly incident involving a Hong Kong person on public transport has been filmed and posted on the Internet.  This incident involves an air flight to Japan earlier this month, in which a woman refused to put her HK$5,000 Gucci bag underneath the seat or in the overhead baggage compartment.  After the cabin crew was unable to persuade her, the police was notified and came aboard the train to chase the "Gucci girl" off.  The incident caused the flight to be delayed by over one hour.

On the morning of July 7th, Cathay Pacific flight CX 504 was scheduled to go from Hong Kong to Tokyo at 9:10am.  When the airplane cruised to the runaway and was ready to take off, the stewardess used the public announcement system to ask passengers to place their hand baggage properly.  But the airplane did not take off for fifteen more minutes, and then the pilot announced in English: "Since a passenger refused to heed the call of the cabin crew to place the hand luggage in the appropriate place, the flight has been delayed."

According to information, the rule-breaking passenger is named Chung, about twenty- to thirty-years old.  She sat in a window seat in the rear to the right.  She had a big argument with several stewardesses.  She refused to put her 1'x2' Gucci Jolicoeur hand bag into the overhead compartment or underneath the seat in front of her.  She insisted on holding onto the bag, knowing that this was against airline safety rules.  The air stewardess informed her that if she refused to cooperate, then she will be asked to leave the airplane.

An eyewitness described on the Internet forum about what happened.  The female passenger said strongly to the air stewardesses: "I've have taken airplanes in the same way before.  Nobody asked me to put my bag down on the ground.  Why is it necessary this time?"  The eyewitness says that this female passenger has decent looks, but her actions caused all the passengers to be inconvenienced.  When the people heard what she said, they booed her and asked her to get off.  But she refused to leave.

Finally, three uniformed police officers boarded the airplane and asked her to leave the cabin.  At first, she refused and made a big fuss.  The police officer warned her that she would be arrested and charged if she does not cooperate and she softened and left the cabin while hugging her bag.  When the other passengers saw that, they clapped their hands to "send her off."  The incident went on for almost an hour and the airplane took off at 10:20am.

At the forum, there was a post that is supposed to be the reply from the female passenger.  She explained that she did not want to place the bag on the floor because she needed to get things frequently and it was very inconvenient if the bag is not right with her: "Although the Gucci bag is expensive, but I am not the kind of girl who would not even put a bag on the floor."

But someone who claimed to be the air stewardess on that flight said: "I explained to her many times that she only needed to put the bag on the floor during the few minutes during take-off and landing.  She can hold onto the bag the rest of the time.  I think that she may be afraid of getting the bag dirty.

The Cathay Pacific spokesperson said that the case has been turned over to the police and therefore no details will be revealed.  The police spokesperson confirmed that they received a report from the airline that a female passenger named Chung had an argument with the cabin crew over the issue of hand-carried baggage.  The female passenger later left the airplane and then went to the destination on another flight arranged by the airline.

Additional link:  The Whole World is after Airplane Sister.  EasyFinder (issue 758)

What is the difference between the two stories?

Obviously, speed is the first thing that comes to mind.  The forum post appeared much earlier than the newspaper report.  By the time the newspaper report appeared, the forum people could barely even remember the case anymore because they operate at Internet speed with so many things happening all the time.  The problem with mainstream media is that they cannot tell if an Internet story is important until much later and after they have done their due diligence in checking the facts.  That may be too little too late.

The newspaper report was professionally written by a team of two reporters (專案組記者盧振威、冼文達).  While it is more readable, it is also sanitized and lacks the raw emotional appeal of the forum post.  More importantly, the newspaper reporter decided to purge the conversation between the forum poster and the Japanese woman in the next seat.  This is journalistically correct, because it was a detail unrelated to the main story.  However, the forum discussions contained a significant number of comments about why the forum poster felt embarrassed by a Hong Kong woman pulling this stunt and decided to use the characterization "Chinese woman" instead for the Japanese woman (note: also that the forum poster's initial assumption that the troublemaker would had the profile of either (1) old man/woman or (2) mainland compatriot).  So this was a good discussion about Hong Kong prejudices.

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