Woman sacked over ‘firing squad’ post


TENSIONS between China and Hong Kong have filtered through to Cairns and taught a sacked tourism worker a tough lesson about posting inflammatory content online.

Helicopter firm Nautilus Aviation has fired former Chinese tour sales agent Coco Souter over a private social media post saying Hong Kong civil rights protesters "should all get executed by firing squad".

The post on WeChat - a Chinese social media platform similar to Facebook - was written in Mandarin as a reaction to protests on Australian shores.

It labelled Hong Kong protesters "a group of morons, brainless with no spine, who have forgotten their ancestry thanks to Americanisation".

Nautilus Aviation CEO Aaron Finn confirmed Ms Souter was let go after the company received a complaint about the social media post.

"It goes against our code of conduct," he said.

"What she said is not representative of our views as a company.

"She will be dismissed as a result."

Mr Finn said the post was made on Ms Souter's private WeChat account which listed Nautilus as her employer.

Ms Souter said she never intended to cause problems for Nautilus and she did not subscribe to the view that protesters ought to be executed. She said she was not the original author of the post but had copied and pasted it from a friend's account, as many other Chinese people had done.

"I really didn't intend to do anything to create an issue or make Nautilus look bad," she said.

"I posted some words I should not have posted, but that's my personal social media."

Ms Souter said a Hong Kong activist had taken the post out of context and notified her former employer and Australian media in a campaign to get her sacked.

Pro-democracy protests first erupted in Hong Kong in early-June in reaction to an extradition bill proposed by the government of Hong Kong.

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