Man held over China Southern flight hoax

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2012, 10:49am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Police in China have detained a suspect they say made a fake terrorism threat that forced a passenger plane bound for Turkey to make an emergency landing, state media said on Tuesday.

The China Southern flight landed in Gansu province’s Lanzhou city on Monday night several hours after departing Urumqi, the capital of the restive Xinjiang region.

It was heading to Beijing before going to its ultimate destination of Istanbul. The official Xinhua news agency said the flight resumed after a four-hour security check.

The latest report said the detained man, surnamed Wang, confessed to fabricating the threat, but it did not say whether he called in the warning or was on the plane.

Xinhua said police were investigating his motive. The incident follows a hoax in August that grounded a Shenzhen Airlines flight.

Police said the suspect in that case confessed to making up the threat to stop a creditor on board the plane from collecting his debt, Xinhua reported.

Xinjiang is home to the traditionally Muslim Uygur ethnic group. Long-simmering resentment among Uygurs over rule by China’s Han majority has sporadically erupted into violence.