A Malaysia court sentenced 33-year-old mechanic, Basheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed to four years jail and three strokes of the cane on Wednesday (20 May) for stealing $2,115 (£1,362) from the account of a passenger who was onboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The court also issued an arrest warrant for Basheer's wife, Nur Shila Kanan, 33, who was also charged in the case. She was supposed to attend the proceedings on Wednesday but failed top show. Basheer told the court his wife was not able to attend as she was suffering from diarrhoea.

Basheer had faced four counts of using the savings account and debit card of Chinese national Tian Jun Wei to withdraw money in three separate transactions. The offences were allegedly committed at the HSBC Bank branch in Kuala Lumpur between May and July last year.

Malaysia Airlines MH370 disappeared last March on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew despite a massive international search.

Government ministers from Australia, China and Malaysia said last month they would extend the search for the missing aircraft by an additional 60,000km2 if the wreckage is not found in the current search area some 1,600km west of Perth, Australia.