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Drunk honeymooner punched flight attendant on trip to Oahu

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:15 p.m. HST, Jun 13, 2014

A drunken passenger assaulted a flight attendant while flying from Japan to Honolulu, federal prosecutors said.

Kenji Okamoto pleaded guilty Friday to interfering with the duties of a flight attendant by assaulting and intimidating him.

According to a criminal complaint, Okamoto was flying first-class from Osaka for his honeymoon last month when flight attendants noticed he was drunk before takeoff and continued drinking alcoholic beverages during the flight.

Okamoto got upset when one of the flight attendants wouldn't take his meal tray away, the court document said. The flight attendant told him his hands were full. Okamoto allegedly "threw a roundhouse type punch" at a flight attendant who intervened in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

Okamoto struck the flight attendant in his arms, which were raised to protect his head, the complaint said.

The Delta Air Lines flight crew told authorities that Okamoto later apologized while crying, remained calm for the remainder of the flight and eventually fell asleep.

After crew members restrained him in his seat, "Okamoto apologized for his actions by repeatedly saying 'I'm sorry' and bowed down on his knees and placed his head on the floor," the complaint said.

During an interview with authorities, Okamoto said he's in the construction business and was "drinking heavily because he was celebrating his honeymoon with his wife ... that he married on April 20, 2014," the complaint said. Okamoto told authorities that before boarding the plane, he had four glasses of beer and one glass of wine and he continued drinking champagne and wine while on board.

He said the incident happened "like a flash," according to the court document, and that he doesn't remember what exactly happened but that he was upset because he felt like he was being disrespected when the first flight attendant wouldn't take his tray away.

U.S. Magistrate Kevin Chang initially allowed Okamoto, 30, of Kyoto, to be released on $50,000 bond, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Hino appealed, arguing that Okamoto didn't disclose a previous conviction in Japan for assaulting a police officer. Hino's appeal provided photos of Okamoto's near full-body tattoos, arguing that Okamoto is a flight risk and a danger.

Delta banned Okamoto from flying on the airline, according to Hino's appeal.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright granted the appeal to keep him held without bail at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

Because he was arrested at the airport, he never got to enjoy his honeymoon, which was to be spent at a luxury resort in east Honolulu, Hino said.

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison when he's sentenced on Sept. 22.

His federal public defender, Salina Althof, declined to comment after the guilty plea hearing.

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copperwire9 wrote:
The Missus might want to think about an annulment.
on June 13,2014 | 02:05PM
loquaciousone wrote:
on June 13,2014 | 02:57PM
Grimbold wrote:
Authorities should investigate where his money comes from.
on June 14,2014 | 01:02AM
samidunn wrote:
Grant him political asylum.
on June 13,2014 | 02:58PM
788686 wrote:
See what happens when you drink....people act stupid! My neighbors across the street start drinking in the afternoon, all that buddy, buddy stuff and next thing you know when evening comes...it's get out my house!....f--- you, etc., etc. Lolo...and they only drink beer!
on June 13,2014 | 03:10PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Fine him heavily and ban him from returning!
on June 13,2014 | 03:43PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Practicing for teenage ninja turtles, as the guy looks it. I know, I am Japanese myself. Remember, on your wedding night, you ain't "Master of The Universe". Not even a groom can play God. I flew on Delta and they are Grrreeeeeaatttt !!! Of course I am biased because a sister of one of my co-workers at Samurai, Inc. in the mid 1990s flew for Delta.
on June 13,2014 | 04:05PM
lokela wrote:
Jail um. Let him spend some honeymoon time with willing buddies.
on June 13,2014 | 04:45PM
kuniagirl wrote:
He's flying first class from Osaka, going to a luxury East Honolulu resort (Kahala no doubt) and yet, he has a public defender? Taxpayers are paying for this bozo?
on June 13,2014 | 05:28PM
environmental_lady wrote:
He probably blew all his money on this flight and hotel reservation and has nothing left to pay his defense. Go figure.
on June 13,2014 | 08:52PM
MexMe wrote:
That's a very good point. He should be billed. I smell "Yakuza" here...
on June 14,2014 | 02:14AM
Giligan wrote:
That is what is wrong with welfare. People know how to work the system, and we all pay!
on June 17,2014 | 06:19AM
sailfish1 wrote:
Honeymoon, first-class flight, and luxury resort down the drain. Better watch this guy because he is probably affiliated with the Yakuza (full body tattoos). On his next arrest, he will probably have a shortened pinkie finger.
on June 13,2014 | 07:15PM
Kapaho wrote:
Book um Danno.
on June 13,2014 | 07:28PM
bokuchan wrote:
Here's another ethnic Korean.
on June 13,2014 | 08:33PM
hikine wrote:
Okamoto is Japanese, get it straight!
on June 14,2014 | 01:01AM
environmental_lady wrote:
Drunk would-be passengers should be banned from boarding the plane and alcohol drinks shouldn't be served on flight. To me this is a no-brainer. After all, if sports events can ban alcohol, why not airplanes?
on June 13,2014 | 08:53PM
copperwire9 wrote:
They're actually supposed to, I understand. The guy's off his rocker (and *pity* the poor wife!) but I think if this winds up in some sort of court thing, Delta's going to face some difficulties over letting him on the plane and serving him when he was obviously drunk.
on June 13,2014 | 11:56PM
false wrote:
Funny, when I drink I get friendly. When I'm sober I don't like people.
on June 13,2014 | 09:12PM
HD36 wrote:
Poor guy, hits a waiter on the arm and might spend 20 years in jail in a country where Japanese make up only a small minority of prisoners. The next Friday the 14th with a full moon won't be for more than 40 years.
on June 13,2014 | 10:04PM
hikine wrote:
Some people just can't handle drinking and sometimes brings out the worst in them. I guess when you're drunk it's temporary insanity as he didn't recall what he did until he became sober. Having full body tats doesn't mean he's Yakuza, that's profiling.
on June 14,2014 | 01:08AM
alaskaguy wrote:
The airline's gate agent should never have let him board the aircraft if he was already intoxicated. Further, the crew should never have continued to serve him alcohol. Stupidity all the way around.
on June 14,2014 | 05:52AM
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