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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 September 2006, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
Thais to deport protest hijacker
Ly Tong
Ly Tong has gained a reputation for anti-communist stunts
A Thai court has ordered the extradition to Vietnam of a man who hijacked a plane to drop anti-communist leaflets over Ho Chi Minh city.

Vietnamese dissident Ly Tong faces charges of slandering Vietnam's government and violating its security.

Mr Tong hijacked an aircraft from Thailand in 2000 and flew it over the Vietnamese capital during a visit by then US President Bill Clinton.

The former fighter pilot fought for US forces during the Vietnam war.

He was shot down during a combat mission over North Vietnam and imprisoned for five years before escaping.

He later took up US citizenship.

Mr Tong has argued that he should not be deported to Vietnam because his flight was a political, rather than criminal, act.

He says Thai law forbids people to be extradited to face political charges.

Failed insurrection

Mr Tong has a reputation for carrying out daredevil stunts against communist countries.

In 2000, he was forced to surrender his pilot's license to US authorities after he illegally entered Cuban airspace and dropped anti-communist leaflets over the island.

In 1992, Mr Tong hijacked a Vietnamese jet and forced the pilot to fly over Ho Chi Minh City as he dropped leaflets calling for an uprising.

He then parachuted out of the aircraft in the hope of leading a popular revolt against Vietnam's communist government.

But he was instead captured by soldiers and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Vietnamese authorities freed him as part of amnesty in 1998.




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