Plane bomb hoax accused was delusional and erratic, court told

Passenger who allegedly used Toblerone bar ‘like a sword’ says he was only making jokes

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 April, 2014, 6:05pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 2:49am

A Finnish traveller on an Amsterdam-Hong Kong flight that had no first-class seats claimed there was a bomb in the first class, a court heard yesterday.

Antti Manselius, 23, also thought at times that the Cathay Pacific jet was heading to Singapore in the Valentine's Day bomb hoax, Tsuen Wan Court heard.

The man was "delusional" and his "train of thought was erratic", fellow Finnish passenger Totti Karpela said.

"He mentioned that first-class passengers should be concerned or aware of possible explosives. He also mentioned there were terrorists," said Karpela, a former policeman who was asked by the in-flight services manager at the time to handcuff Manselius.

The overnight flight, CX270, had a business class, premium economy class and economy class, but no first class.

Karpela testified he was not alarmed by those claims because Manselius had gone through two airport security screenings, in Helsinki and Amsterdam.

He also said Manselius told him that he was an Olympic athlete injured in Sochi, Russia, and then that he was an athlete who had to go to Sochi.

Manselius has pleaded not guilty to behaving in a disorderly manner on an aircraft and giving false information on the existence of a bomb. He said he was only making "fun and jokes" to entertain other passengers and did not mean the threats.

The defence team argued yesterday that its client had not specified which jet had a bomb.

The Finnish Consul General, Annikki Arponen, and Manselius' mother attended the hearing.

Earlier, the court heard Manselius, his head swathed in two blankets, approached the cockpit door at about 1.15am on February 14, almost six hours into the flight. Wielding a large Toblerone chocolate bar "like a sword", he said he was robbing the jet. But he then followed instructions from the crew and returned to his seat.

At about 2am, the captain ordered that Manselius be reseated in the back row, where he did not create any trouble but tore a magazine from the seat pocket into pieces, the manager, Eric Ho Tung-fai, testified yesterday.

Another half an hour passed before the captain ordered Manselius to be handcuffed. Ho knew Karpela was a former policeman who understood in-flight security and asked him to help.

Manselius was co-operative when Karpela handcuffed him, but mentioned the explosive and terrorists. No bomb was found in his bag. He was bound to his seat for the next four hours without food or water, Ho said, and did not ask to visit the toilet.