Jul 01, 2016

    China Airlines 'flight steward' nabbed over bomb threat


    A CHINA Airlines (CAL) flight attendant reportedly was arrested on Wednesday over a hoax bomb threat targeting a plane carrying President Tsai Ing-wen on her official visit to Latin America.

    Police said they took in a 43-year-old suspect surnamed Huang in connection with a bomb threat targeting the President's plane but refused to confirm media reports that said he was a senior CAL flight attendant.

    The suspect allegedly made a call to the 110 emergency line, claiming there was a bomb on the CAL-operated presidential flight.

    The call was reportedly made using a public phone about 30 minutes before the plane was due to take off on June 24, the day when the airline's flight attendants went on strike.

    After it was alerted of the threat, the National Security Bureau determined that it was a hoax and cleared the presidential plane for take-off, media reports said.

    CAL declined to confirm whether the suspect was an employee. It said it would launch an internal probe and mete out punishments accordingly if its employees committed serious violations of company rules.

    Police said they traced the call to a convenience store in New Taipei City. The surveillance camera captured the image of a man who was about 180cm tall and wearing a cap, a mask, a black shirt, black trousers and black slippers.

    In the footage, the suspect first buys a phone card at the store, and then makes a call using a public phone outside the store. The call lasted for a few seconds.

    Police said the suspect said in the 110 call: "There is a bomb on the president's plane."

    The Civil Aeronautics Administration said anyone who spreads false information that jeopardises flight safety could be jailed for up to three years.