“Disruptive” Malaysia Airlines passenger has been charged after he allegedly threatened to blow up the plane mid-flight

A 45-year-old Malaysia Airlines passenger has been charged with allegedly threatening to blow up a plane during a flight from Australia to Malaysia on Monday, authorities said.

Muhammad Arif, a resident of Canberra, was then taken into custody without incident Malaysia Airlines flight MH122 had to return to Sydney Airport more than three hours after the start of the eight-hour flight to Kuala Lumpur.

The 45-year-old became “disruptive” on board the Airbus A330 and claimed to be carrying explosives, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement.

One of the flight’s 199 passengers, Velutha Parambath, told The Associated Press that Arif caught everyone’s attention before takeoff by praying aloud, but Parambath thought nothing of it.

“At that point we just thought he was praying for everyone. “People generally just laughed,” said Parambath, who was five rows behind Arif.

But 30 minutes into the flight, Parambath said Arif raised his voice, got up and started shoving and shoving passengers before implying he had explosives in a backpack.

“I don’t think he specifically said ‘bomb’. But he carried his bag and said, ‘I have strength in my arms,'” said Parambath, who was traveling with his wife and three children.

Passengers spent almost three hours on the route The plane after it landed before Arif was taken into custody.


Muhammad Arif
Muhammad Arif, 45, has been charged with allegedly threatening to blow up a plane during a flight from Australia to Malaysia.
AP/Velutha Parambath

Muhammad Arif
Arif was arrested without incident after Malaysia Airlines flight MH122 was forced to return to Sydney Airport.
AP/Velutha Parambath

The 45-year-old was "disturbing" on board the Airbus A330
The 45-year-old became “disruptive” on board the Airbus A330 and said he was carrying explosives.
AP/Velutha Parambath

The 45-year-old was accused of making a false statement about the threat of damage to an aircraft and failing to follow cabin crew safety instructions, AFP said.

In the event of a conviction, the indictment bears a maximum penalty 10 years in prison and a fine of over AUD 15,000 (US$7,300).

Arif on Tuesday refused to leave his police cell to appear before a Sydney court via video feed.

Defense attorney Mostafa Daoudie told Judge Greg Grogin on Tuesday that Arif has “serious mental health problems” and is “not in the right frame of mind.”

Grogin refused to release Arif on bail.

JACLYN DIAZ

JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing diza@ustimetoday.com.

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