Japan Airlines 787
A Japan Airlines 787 in flight. Courtesy of the airline

A 20-year-old man who drunkenly disrupted an international flight from Japan to San Diego this summer, in which he struck a flight crew member, shouted racial slurs, made sexual comments to female flight crew members and threw drinks at other passengers, pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal count of interfering with an airplane flight crew.

Malaysian citizen Wei Sing Goh admitted to the disruptive conduct aboard Japan Airlines Flight JL66 on Aug. 13, a 10-hour, 32-minute flight from Narita, Japan to San Diego International Airport.

The criminal complaint filed against Goh states that he began drinking alcohol one hour into the flight, eventually consuming seven mini-bottles of red and white wine.

Five hours into the flight, the complaint states he “became agitated and unruly.”

After flight crew members “repeatedly told Goh to return to his seat and calm down,” he told them “that he thought there was a gun onboard, that people were out to get him, and that he wanted a parachute to jump out of the plane,” the complaint states, leading crew members to fear he might attempt to open the aircraft cabin door mid-flight.

He also made unspecified racial slurs and sexual comments, and touched one of the flight crew members on the nose, the complaint states. Passengers seated next to and behind Goh were reseated, and the plane’s captain gave Goh both verbal and written warnings.

He was then given water and orange juice in an attempt to calm him down, but flight crew members saw him throw his orange juice at a man.

He later tried to walk into the business class section of the plane and was restrained by a flight crew member and three passengers, according to the complaint. However, he was able to free himself and struck a crew member, before being subdued again and restrained with a pair of flex cuffs.

“Safety on an airplane is important to all who fly,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Scott Brunner said. “A drunk, abusive passenger acting out against other passengers and the flight crew is not merely an inconvenience, but a serious threat to the safety of everyone on the flight. This sort of abusive and threatening behavior will not be tolerated and constitutes a federal crime that the FBI will investigate fully to protect the flying public. May this case serve as a warning to others.”

Goh is slated to be sentenced March 2.

— City News Service