Judge rebukes mainland painter over behavior at court hearing

April 02, 2015 15:02
Chinese painter Li  Yifeng (inset) denies he threw a coffee cup at a Cathay Pacific stewardess for not giving him a cup of water. Photos: Bloomberg, Apple Daily

A man charged with attacking an airline stewardess while on flight received a stern warning from a judge over his behavior inside the court.

Li  Yifeng, a 69-year-old Chinese painter, pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault for allegedly throwing a coffee cup at a Cathay Pacific flight attendant after he was refused a cup of water, Apple Daily reported.

Li, who appeared in court on Wednesday without a representing lawyer, said he was a passenger needing special attention as he has been suffering from serious diabetes.

He accused the flight attendant, Lai Wing-man, of being lazy and lacking professional manners.

A Hong Kong Identity Card holder who now resides in Shenzhen, Li denied he attacked Lai on a December 10 flight from Singapore to Hong Kong. He insisted he did not throw a cup at her.

Lai, who had been working with Cathay Pacific for nine months at the time, said she was collecting meal trays from passengers when Li requested a cup of water.

Lai said she politely asked Li to wait as she could not immediately attend to him at the time.

She said Li yelled at her: “How much longer do I have to wait? I have waited a long time.” The man then threw a cup at her waist, Lai said.

She gave Li a verbal warning and demanded an apology, but Li refused.

She said she turned emotional after having been attacked. She reported the incident to her superiors. Her colleagues noticed that she had a swelling and bruises on her waist.

Li requested the case be adjourned so he could get a lawyer to represent him from Shenzhen.

Magistrate Jim Tsui-ki refused his request, explaining that mainland lawyers could not practice in Hong Kong.

Li then went on to question Lai, suggesting an old man like him would be too weak to throw a cup with such force. He asked Lai to ask consult her father on that point.

The magistrate had to stop Li on several occasions, warning him not to insult Lai and telling him to answer questions instead of making a speech.

He warned Li that the court is not a playground and he could be put on the defendant's stand behind bars if he kept on disturbing the court proceedings.

Li explained he dropped a coffee cup by accident and that the cup was grey in color, not red as described by Lai. 

He admitted that he became emotional after he was refused a cup of water four times. 

A verdict will be handed out on April 9.

Li is a famous painter on the mainland, and was once complimented by the late national leader Hua Guofeng for his outstanding works of art.

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