Thursday, August 24, 2006

Australian Arrested For China Plane Bomb Threat

An Australian citizen has been arrested in China for allegedly making a bomb threat on board a passenger airliner that was bound for Australia, Chinese media and the Australian government said. A note warning a bomb would explode on the China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou to Sydney was found during the journey, passengers had told reporters. The scare forced the pilot to take emergency action and return to Guangzhou, where the 200 passengers were delayed for hours as the plane was searched. No bomb was detected and the flight eventually landed in Sydney seven hours late.Chinese police arrested Wong Chung-wah, an Australian passenger of Hong Kong origin, after verifying his handwriting matched the hoax letter, China's offical Xinhua news agency said, citing an unidentified police official at the Guangzhou airport. The Australian government confirmed the arrest. "We can confirm that a 39-year-old New South Wales man was arrested in Guangzhou on August 22," a foreign affairs department spokeswoman in Canberra told reporters. "We understand he is being questioned in relation to a bomb threat hoax." The spokesman said Australian officials were seeking consular access to the man. Xinhua said Wong, a businessman, told police he was "lovesick" and set up the hoax because he was depressed. No details were released on what charges he may face.