Flight MH370

Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Police never mistreated me, says distraught mother of missing MH370 passenger

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 March, 2014, 4:24pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 March, 2014, 9:54am

A distraught woman who became the face of the anguish of families with loved ones on board the missing plane when she was photographed being carried away by police says Malaysia Airlines authorities initially told her the plane had never taken off.

But she denied being mistreated by the officers in front of an emotionally charged press conference and said they were there to stop her panicking and to shield her from the media.

Liu Guiqui told China Central Television that she had travelled to Kuala Lumpur International Airport for answers after learning that Flight MH370 was missing, with her son Li Le among the 227 passengers.

The conduct of the security personnel is the focus of an investigation by the Malaysian government looking at what happened after Liu was forcibly removed.

Liu said she turned up at the press conference last Wednesday with a handful of family members and evaded a wall of security to unfurl a banner saying: "We protest against the Malaysian government withholding information and holding up search efforts."

She said Malaysian officials failed to provide any comforting words and no one gave her any information about the missing plane. She could not understand why there had been no news.

Liu spoke of her confusion when her son's plane failed to arrive in Beijing on March 8.

She said: "Our driver went to the airport to pick up our son... he never arrived. I was confused and wondered what happened. I asked Malaysian Airlines and they said the plane never took off.

"I switched on the television and was watching CCTV, where I saw reports the plane was missing.

"When I realised it wasn't a mistake, I was heartbroken. I kept telling myself my son was going to be alright.

Liu explained that she flew to Kuala Lumpur to be the first person he greeted off the plane - yet, 16 days into the search, investigators are still trying to find out what happened to the plane and the missing 239 passengers and crew. The middle-aged mother described her son as a "kind-hearted, good person" who is "loyal… [and] treats everyone with respect".

Liu said Li had a daughter and that the family was trying to shield her from any bad news.

We can't tell her what has happened. We have a rule that no one in the family is allowed to cry or mention this issue in front of her.

"She wouldn't be able to cope with this news about her father. She really loves her father. she cries for him every night.

"I really just want my son to come home and to be safe."

Liu did not now believe that Malaysia's handling of the case had been poor. All she wanted, she said, was "my son to return", adding: "There has been no news about my son. None at all.

"I'm going to go crazy."