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Stewardesses who work for Hong Kong Airlines are taking compulsory kung fu lessons in order to help them deal with troublesome passengers.

They are being taught the ancient art of Wing Chun, which uses striking and grappling moves in close-range combat to defeat opponents.

It is hoped that they will be given a confidence boost in having to reprimand drunken or abusive fliers, as well as extra strength should they have to take them on themselves.

Instructor Sifu Lu Heng commented: "It is for their own safety and the safety of other passengers that they learn how to defend themselves. This kung fu works best at very close range so it is ideal for a plane."

Eva Chan, a communications manager for the airline, told the Sunday Morning Post a colleague has already used her new-found skills to assist a drunken and quite heavy man on one of her flights.

Wing Chun is partly down to body positioning, with practitioners believing the person who is flexible but firm like bamboo will win.

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