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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Passenger furious at plane cancellation ‘attacks customs officer’ at Dubai airport

Australian apologised in court and said he suffered from hypertension and was stressed out

A transit passenger who refused to allow custom inspectors to search his luggage when he landed at Dubai airport ended up fighting with an officer, whom he threw to the ground, a court heard on Sunday.

On July 25, the 53-year-old Australian man landed in Dubai from the UK, en-route to his Australian homeland.

“He was very angry and screaming, and he wouldn't let the officers search his luggage through X-ray. When I asked him why, he said he had a long flight and was tired and that he needed to rest before his next flight,” said a 28-year-old Emirati officer, who tried to calm the man down and convince him that it was just common procedure. The passenger still refused so he reported the incident and was ordered to handcuff the man.

“When I got the handcuffs out of my pocket, he attacked me, grabbing me by my uniform then threw me to the ground. He fell on top of me and resisted me so hard but I managed to restrain and handcuff him,” said the officer.

The defendant said he was angry that his flight to Sydney had been rescheduled for the next day.

“I boarded the plane and, four hours later, the captain apologised and said the flight was cancelled and we can book another one through Abu Dhabi,” said the accused.

He said that as he was leaving the airport for a hotel, he put his luggage on the X-ray scanners but the inspector was not paying attention to the screen and asked him to load the bags again.

“I was angry, so I refused to put them on again and walked out, not paying attention to what the officer was saying,” he said.

The defendant said that he suffered from hypertension and what happened with his flight stressed him out and then, when he was told he would be handcuffed, he lost his temper.

“I told them I was an Australian citizen and I have my rights, then I screamed at them and, when I was locked inside a room alone, I hurt myself intentionally with a key that I had in my bag but I didn't mean to end my life,” said the defendant when he was questioned about an attempted suicide charge.

“I’m sorry for what I have done.”

Prosecutors dropped the attempted suicide charges but charged him with assaulting a police officer. He was not in court to face the charge but a verdict will be issued on October 22.