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Spate of threat calls plaguing Chinese airlines

world Updated: Oct 09, 2012 18:41 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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The police have arrested a man in northwest China's restive Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) for allegedly making a threat call to an international passenger flight forcing it to make an unscheduled landing on Monday evening.

The China Southern Airlines flight CZ680, traveling from Istanbul to Beijing via Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, was grounded in the Zhongchuan Airport in Lanzhou, capital of Northwest China's Gansu province, hours after its take-off from Xinjiang's capital of Urumqi, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

All the 196 onboard were evacuated immediately after the landing. No explosive material was found on the aircraft.

The suspect, identified by his family name, Wang, was arrested after his phone call was traced by the police. He has reportedly confessed to making the call, claiming there was a bomb aboard the flight.

Wang's motive in making the call is being investigated.

The latest incident came less than two months after bombing threats grounded two airplanes in China.

In late August, an Air China flight bound for New York returned to Beijing Capital International Airport after it received a threatening message.

In the same week, a Shenzhen Airlines domestic flight returned after receiving a bomb threat.

In late June, airline passengers and crew foiled an attempted hijack of a domestic flight operating in the Xinjiang region.

At least 10 people were injured in the incident in which passengers and flight attendants subdued six alleged hijackers.

The Tianjin airlines' flight GS 7554 was on its way from the airport of Hotan airport - a town in the region -- to Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Autonomous region about 1400 km away when the attempted hijack took place. There were at least 100 passengers on board the flight.

Urumqi is located more than 2000 km to the west of Beijing.