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Canadian who opened plane door before take off self- harms in cell

Written by World Events

The Canadian man in Chiang Mai, who was arrested after opening the door of a Thai Airways aircraft as it was about to take off on Wednesday night, has been taken to Chiang Mai Neurological Hospital for assessment after he hurt himself in his cell.

Chiang Mai police say that the suspect, 40-year-old Wong Sai Heung, bashed his head against the iron bars of the detention cell, in the Mueang district police station, and bit the back of his own hand.

Police officers subdued him and had him taken to the neurological hospital for psychological assessment.

According to other passengers, Wong appeared to be in a state of panic when he opened the door, causing the automatic deployment of the evacuation slide and forcing the pilot to stop the plane.

The air crew and passengers managed to subdue the suspect and airport security guards took him from the aircraft for questioning.

The incident caused 13 flights to be delayed and some arriving flights were diverted to other airports. More than 2,000 passengers were affected.

The suspect told the media that he had visited Vietnam before arriving in Thailand on February 3rd, adding that he was returning to Bangkok to catch a flight back to Canada.

He claimed that, while in Vietnam, he sensed that he was being shadowed by members of an “underground organisation” who mean him harm, adding that he opened the plane’s door to try to escape because he believed that “it would explode”.

The suspect was initially charged with rendering an airplane in a condition likely to cause danger to other people, in accordance with Section 232 of the Criminal Code. The offence is punishable by imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine of 140,000 baht on conviction.

Pol Lt-Col Natthawut Noisorn, deputy superintendent of Phuping police station, said that more charges may be filed later, adding that the Canadian embassy in Bangkok has been notified of the incident so that embassy officials can contact the suspect’s relatives in Canada.

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