A man from Shandong province made himself at home at Hong Kong International Airport Sunday morning.
A video clip uploaded to the internet showed him preparing a meal for himself with his rice cooker, Apple Daily reported Monday.
It stirred up a heated online discussion.
The clip showed the man plugging his rice cooker into a socket across from a bakery at the airport’s departure hall. Steam could be seen rising from the corner where he squatted.
The woman who took the video said he was there for about half an hour.
The clip went viral soon after Apple Daily put it up on its website.
It attracted more than 600 comments, mostly sarcastic.
One said “nothing is more important than eating”, while another said “only mainlanders dare to do this, and he should be complimented”.
A netizen said an entire set of cooking equipment will appear next time if no action is taken.
When a reporter from the newspaper found him Monday, the impromptu chef said he was hired as a construction worker in Singapore in January through a recruiting agent but was dismissed from his job after a month.
With little more than 200 yuan (US$31.90) on him — he had sent the rest of the roughly 7,500 yuan he had left, after paying the agent and for his plane ticket, to his family in Shandong — the 46-year-old man landed in Hong Kong at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, planning to transfer to a flight home at noon.
Exhausted, he fell asleep on a bench and missed the connecting flight, he said.
All he could do was pay an extra fare of HK$200 and wait for the same flight on Tuesday, leaving him with only about HK$20.
Since he could not afford a set meal costing about HK$40, he decided to cook for himself.
The man said he did not expect to find himself in such an awkward situation and he just wanted to go home as soon as possible.
He said he had used the rice cooker, which cost him S$35 (US$25.35), to cook his meals when he was working in Singapore.
A spokesman from the Airport Authority said electrical sockets at the airport are for the use of facility maintenance and cleaning staff and are not provided free of charge to the public.
[Update: The man returned home on a flight in the evening on March 10.]
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