Tensions between grieving Chinese families in Beijing and Malaysian Airlines staff boiled over this week when airline staff were held inside a hotel for 10 hours by angry family members and a security officer was allegedly assaulted.
Malaysian Airlines released a statement about the two incidents which occurred late on Thursday and early yesterday as a delegation from Malaysian Airlines attempted to brief families at the Lido Hotel in Beijing.
About 200 family members attended the meeting, which was held by 10 airline staff.
The relatives were incensed when a Malaysian government official did not come to brief them, and the meeting descended into chaos as relatives angrily confronted airline staff.
The incident began about 3pm on Thursday and was not diffused until 1.44am yesterday when the staff were finally released.
Malaysian Airlines said its security supervisor, Kalaichelven Shunmugam, was allegedly “kicked in the left knee” by an “aggressive” Chinese family member at the hotel earlier in the week.
The airline has filed a police report on the incident.
The relatives who went to the embassy remained there in an overnight protest, two participants said on Friday.
About two-thirds of the 239 passengers aboard the missing plane came from China.
Chinese relatives have for weeks complained bitterly about what they call Malaysia’s secretive and incompetent handling of the search for the plane, which vanished March 8.
It disappeared from radar on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and is believed to have crashed far out in the Indian Ocean.
A police report has since been made.
“The airline staff tried to stop an aggressive family member who demanded access to the secretariat, when the latter kicked the staff in his left knee,” the airline said in a statement.
“Those at the scene managed to defuse the situation and later brought Kalaichelven to the secretariat for first aid assistance. The staff sustained only light injury.”
Source: news.com.au – Malaysia Airlines staff allegedly held for 10 hours by angry relatives, kicked during confrontation
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