Vietnam taekwando coach refuses to pay fine for disrupting flight

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A passenger who was fined this week by Vietnamese aviation authorities for disrupting a flight in April has refused to pay the fine and pledged a "fight to the end."

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam earlier this week decided to fine Le Minh Khuong VND2 million for not obeying the crew's instructions and creating a disturbance on a Vietnam Airlines flight on April 18.

However, Khuong, coach of the national taekwondo team, has maintained that the decision to fine him was "not impartial and not based on facts."

"I'll fight to the end for what's right," Khuong said in a press conference Thursday. "Some individuals [of Vietnam Airlines] did not behave properly"¦ They cannot treat customers like that," he said.

According to CAA, Khuong, who boarded the flight with an economy ticket, moved to the business-class cabin without permission. When asked by the flight attendants to return to his seat, he did not obey, and shouted and threatened them, the CAA decision said.

Khuong, however, said he was then waiting in the business-class cabin for a flight attendant to return his boarding pass.

He said that earlier, when the flight was delayed due to bad weather, Khuong and his father had asked to leave the plane. The chief flight attendant asked for his boarding pass and asked him to wait for her to request permission from ground control.

But the flight was able to resume some time later before the permission to leave the plane was obtained. When the flight attendant asked Khuong to return to his seat, he asked for his boarding pass, and she said she'd lost it.

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"I asked her to write a report about losing my boarding pass but she refused to do so," Khuong said.

As the plane was taxiing, the flight attendants asked him to return to his economy seat, which he did.

However, the flight captain decided to return to the terminal and ask the security in Da Nang to interfere. Four security officers arrived and asked Khuong to get off but Khuong refused. They forcibly removed him out of the plane.

Khuong claimed that the security officers tasered him, twisted his arms behind his back and pulled his hair. The CAA has rejected his claims.

Khuong's lawyer, Tran Thu Nam said that the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam would be violating Khuong's rights and dignity if they insisted on fining Khuong for what he had not done.

To protect his honor, Khuong has already complained about the case to the Ministry of Transport, Nam said.

If the case was not solved by the ministry, Khuong would bring the case to court, he added.

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