Australian airline pilot fined for McDonald's theft in Hong Kong

Hong Kong - An Australian pilot with the Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific was facing disciplinary action Saturday after being convicted of stealing at McDonald's on a drunken night out.

Nicholas Reymond, 31, was fined at a court hearing Friday for taking a card-reading machine out of a Hong Kong branch of McDonald's in February.

The theft was captured on closed-circuit television cameras.

Reymond, who is training to be a first officer with the airline, was with two friends at the time and told the court he took the machine after drinking heavily.

He pleaded guilty to theft and was fined 3,000 Hong Kong dollars (386 US dollars) and ordered to pay McDonald's 3,000 Hong Kong dollars in compensation for the machine.

The card-reading machine is used by customers to pay for meals with Octopus accumulated value cards, widely used to pay for public transportation and small purchases in Hong Kong.

A letter from a senior Cathay Pacific captain detailing Reymond's professionalism was read to the court, and Magistrate Garry Tallentire said he hoped the incident would not affect his career.

Asked about whether the airline would discipline the pilot, a Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said Saturday that it would review the incident. "There is no set policy on incidents of this kind," she said. "We will have to look at the details, circumstances and severity of the incident on a case-by-case basis."