Mainland hits at Taiwan for holding hijackers
By CHAN WAI-FONG
TAIWAN'S policy of returning the aircraft but not the hijackers has virtually fostered the crime, a senior Chinese aviation official alleged yesterday.
Chen Guangyi, director of China's Civil Aviation General Administration, urged the Taiwanese Government to abide by the 1990 Quemoy accord on the immediate repatriation of criminals.
Since April last year, 15 asylum-seeking Chinese have hijacked 11 Chinese airliners to Taiwan.
Talks between China and Taiwan were bogged down by sensitive issues such as the repatriation of hijackers.
Taiwan insisted putting the mainland hijackers on trial before sending them home.
A Taiwanese court yesterday sentenced a Chinese man to 12 years in prison for hijacking a Xiamen airline carrying 100 people last December, brandishing cigarettes he claimed were explosives.
According to a despatch of the official China News Service (CNS) yesterday, Mr Chen asked the Taiwanese Government to take concerted action in cracking the crime.
''We believe that if we can co-operate in cracking down on hijacking activities, that is repatriating hijackers, then the crime could be curbed once and for all,'' he said.
In the meeting, Mr Chen also urged aviation officials at all levels not to relax air safety and anti-hijacking measures.
For serious hijackings, the policy of ''four no-let-goes'' should be upheld, the aviation chief said.
That means cases could not be let go if causes had not been exhausted, responsible persons not been identified, effective preventative measures not been adopted and severe punishment not been imposed, Mr Chen said.
Since last year, a large number of directives and regulations on the strengthening of air safety had been issued and a large group of air safety staff recruited, CNS said.
Six hijacking plots had also been uncovered the report said.