May 10 (UPI) — An unruly passenger who reached out and slapped a bus driver in a southern Chinese city has been sentenced to four years in prison, according to Chinese media.
Hainan Nanhaiwang Media reported Friday the people’s court of Haikou City, in the island province of Hainan, ruled Chen, the defendant, had acted in a dangerous manner.
Chen, a woman in her 30s, was found guilty of endangering public safety, the court said, according to the report.
The incident took place on Dec. 27, when the passenger claimed the driver collected about 15 cents more in bus fare than needed. The dispute was recorded on a monitoring system inside the bus.
The passenger continued to argue and interfere with the driving, and began to take photographs of the driver with a cellphone camera, according to the report. She stopped distracting the driver when he issued a warning.
Chen settled down, but an hour later she returned to the driver and restarted her dispute. A Chinese flag hanging nearby dropped to the floor and when the driver tried to restrain her, she slapped him across the face, the report says.
The driver pulled the bus to a curb and called the police, and the defendant was taken to a police station.
The driver said the bus was traveling at a speed of 12 mph, and three senior citizens were on board. He also told media the defendant was posing dangers to public safety.
Chen later apologized for her behavior.
The fight on the bus was tracked on a surveillance camera at a time when China is increasing its investment in technologies.
The Financial Times reported this week a Chinese facial recognition company has raised $750 million from investors including the Bank of China Group Investment.
The system has been linked to China’s mass tracking of Uighurs, China’s Muslim minority in the west.