A Chinese teenager stowed away on a plane from Shanghai to Dubai in the hope to make his fortune here in the Emirates.

A 16-year-old Chinese man has been arrested for sneaking onto an Emirates A380 passenger plane and illegally making his way from Shanghai to Dubai. Why did he do it? Because he thought he could get rich here in the UAE.

Chinese state media have reported that the 16-year-old from China’s Sichuan province climbed a fence at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport and snuck onto the cargo hold of the plane bound for Dubai on Thursday May 26.

In a near-unprecedented move he hid in the cargo area of the plane for the entire nine hour flight. He was hiding in the pressurised cargo area of the Emirates aircraft, which meant he didn’t have to survive on little oxygen and at extremely cold temperatures.

“Emirates can confirm that on 27 May, a stowaway was found in the cargo hold of flight EK303 from Shanghai to Dubai,” said the airline in a statement.

“We are cooperating fully with authorities in Dubai and as this is a police matter we are unable to comment further at this time.”

The teenager, who is being identified by his family name, Xu, was arrested by Dubai Police upon arrival.

An interpreter who met Xu in Dubai told Chinese state media that the boy thought he could make thousands of dollars a month begging on Dubai’s streets (however, begging is illegal in the UAE).

Apparently the boy got this impression via rumours making the rounds on Chinese social media that a lot of money could be made in Dubai by begging.

But Ma Xuliang, China’s deputy consul general in Dubai, told China’s state media this about the matter: “I hope that Chinese citizens will not follow such rumors. The UAE has strict laws banning begging, violators of which will be punished in accordance with the law.”

Xu remains in police custody in Dubai, and CNN reports that he is likely to be deported.