Vietnam Airlines passenger sentenced for making bomb joke

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A Hanoi court on Monday sentenced a woman to 15 months' probation for joking about a bomb after boarding a Vietnam Airlines flight last year, online newspaper VnExpress reported.

Ho Thi Thanh Tuyen, 25, who was charged with "impeding air traffic," was also ordered to pay VND100 million (US$4,800) in compensation to the carrier for the loss caused by the delay of the flight.

According to the indictment, on July 9, 2011, Tuyen boarded a plane from Hanoi to Da Lat.

When the aircraft was on the runway ready for takeoff, a steward named Bui Tuan Anh came to her seat and required her to put her bag into the overhead locker above her seat.

Tuyen reportedly asked Anh to help her put the bag into the locker and said: "If I have a bomb in my bag and we put it in there, will it explode?"

When Anh asked Tuyen to repeat what she had said, Tuyen said it was just a joke.

Anh, however, quickly reported her "joke" to the chief steward who then reported to the captain.

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The flight was delayed as all passengers were taken to a lounge in the Noi Bai International Airport for checks.

The aircraft was moved to a separate area.

After no bomb was found, the flight was resumed three hours later.

Vietnam Airlines claimed the incident cost the company more than VND300 million.

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