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Musician fined 1 mln won for smoking e-cigarette on flight

2017/11/12 09:24

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INCHEON, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) -- A member of a South Korean reggae band has been fined for smoking an electronic cigarette on a Korean Air Lines flight earlier this year, a local court said Sunday.

The Incheon District Court fined Ra Guk-san, who belongs to Kim Ban-jang and Windy City, South Korea's longest-running roots reggae band, 1 million won (around US$895) for violating the aviation security law.

Ra, 36, has been indicted on suspicion of smoking an e-cigarette on the plane that left San Francisco at 4:50 a.m. on Feb. 22 this year and was scheduled to land at Incheon at 5:10 p.m. the same day, according to the ruling.

He was caught smoking an e-cigarette in his seat at around 1:10 p.m. before being arrested by police upon arrival in Incheon.

The aviation security law bans an airline passenger from causing disturbances or puffing cigarettes to ensure the safety of the plane and its other passengers.

The court imposed a lighter penalty on the musician as his in-flight smoking took place before March 21, when a revised aviation security law, which calls for stronger punishment of people causing disturbances and smoking in flight, went into force.

The revised law stipulates that anyone smoking in a plane could face a penalty of 10 million won if a plane is in flight and 5 million won if it is parked.

Even though e-cigarettes involve no combustion, they are classified as general tobacco under related laws and are subjected to the no smoking ban on a flight just like general cigarettes.

Amid the popularity of e-cigarette use, the number of cases of people caught smoking in airplanes showed a marked increase in the 2012-2016 period. The number of such cases, which stood at nine and 14, respectively, in 2012 and 2013, soared to 90 in 2014 and 333 in 2015 before hitting a record high of 360 last year.

Kim Ban-jang and Windy City, a five-member reggae band formed in 2005, has released two regular albums and single albums.

namsh@yna.co.kr

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