Chinese farmer fined for smoking on plane, claims illiteracy

Smoking is not permitted aboard commercial flights.

Smoking is not permitted aboard commercial flights.  (iStock)

There are people who still don't know that you can't light up at 35,000 feet?

A Chinese farmer has been ordered to pay a fine of more than $250 for smoking on an airplane, but claimed he did not know it was illegal because he cannot read, reports the South China Morning Post.

Xu Miaoqing had been given a trip to Hong Kong by his niece as a holiday present. Miaoqing was flying from Bangkok on a Cathay Pacific flight on Christmas Day when he decided to take a smoke break.

According to court testimony, Miaoqing went into a lavatory mid flight, the alarm sounded and there was a “strong smell of smoke.” When the door was opened, a cigarette butt was found in the toilet bowl.

Upon arrival, Miaoqing pleaded guilty to smoking during the flight and was fined HK$2,000-- about $258. In addition, the farmer said that he spent nearly a quarter of his annual wages in Hong Kong during the trip.

In court, the defendant’s lawyer stated that his client was illiterate and therefore could not understand any written signage that prohibited smoking on board the aircraft.

The incident comes just weeks after several incidents aboard Chinese aircrafts that included a passenger opening an emergency exit door to get a breath of fresh air, hot noodles being thrown at a stewardess, and a physical altercation where two women exchanged blows over a crying baby.