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China’s Airlines Get Bomb Threats After Arrests in Beijing Crash

China’s Airlines Get Bomb Threats After Arrests in Beijing Crash

At least three Chinese airlines received bomb threats yesterday as five people were detained for suspected links to a deadly car crash in Beijing which police called a terrorist attack.

Beijing Capital Airlines diverted one flight and China Southern Airlines Co.’s unit Xiamen Airlines Co. and Sichuan Airlines Co. each delayed a flight, officials from the companies said. One person suspected of calling in the threats was detained by police, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. China Southern also diverted a flight, Sean Cui, a media official said, declining to specify reasons.

Police have arrested at least four people for bomb hoaxes against Chinese airlines in the past year. The latest threats came three days after a sport-utility vehicle crashed near Tiannanmen Square in Beijing, killing two tourists along with the three people inside the vehicle.

The attack occurred a few blocks from China’s Zhongnanhai leadership compound and comes before the Communist Party’s Central Committee gathers to discuss economic-policy reforms later this month. Police said the car had a license plate from the western region of Xinjiang, which has experienced sporadic protests by ethnic Uighurs against Chinese rule.

The Beijing Capital Airlines flight from central China’s Changsha bound for the eastern city of Hangzhou was forced to land after the bomb threat, airline official Chen Qian said by phone. Police are investigating, she said.

Xiamen Air and Sichuan Airlines found nothing unusual after making inspections, according to Qiu Dapeng and Cai Chao, media officials for the respective carriers.