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Wednesday, 27 September, 2000, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Hijacker killed on Chinese flight

A hijacker in China has been killed while trying to hold up a plane flying to Beijing with 143 passengers on board.

A security official said the man rushed into the cockpit and stabbed the captain after the Boeing 737 had taken off from the northern region of Inner Mongolia.

Security staff on the aircraft overpowered the attacker as the co-pilot made an emergency landing at Jinan airport.

Reports said the hijacker, thought to be in his 20s, was stabbed with his own dagger during the scuffle. There were no details of his identity or motive.

The captain has been taken to hospital, but his medical condition is unclear.

The Xinhua Airlines plane had taken off from Baotou, the second largest city in Inner Mongolia, at 0720. It landed in Jinan, capital of eastern Shandong province at 0936 (0136 GMT).

Security

Some reports suggested there had been a second hijacker on board who did not take part in the attack in the cockpit.

A security official at Jinan airport said: "[The hijacker] was stabbed with his own dagger by flight security officials after the aircraft had landed. The captain was injured, but no others were hurt."

This is thought to be the first time that security staff aboard a Chinese flight have ever killed a hijacker.

All Chinese airlines began carrying security staff on board domestic flights following a spate of hijackings in the mid-1990s.

Between 1993 and 1994, 12 internal flights were hijacked by people demanding to be taken to the island of Taiwan.

Autonomy

Inner Mongolia, a large region south-east of the state of Mongolia, is controlled by China and has only a minority population of ethnic Mongolians.

A small number want to reunite the territory with Mongolia.

Twelve people were arrested in the region in 1995 after demanding more democracy and greater autonomy.

And in 1996, two ethnic Mongolians were jailed for up to 15 years on charges of separatism and espionage.

But unlike Tibet and Xinjiang province, Inner Mongolia has shown little sign of significant anti-Chinese unrest in recent years.

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See also:

28 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese pilot 'hijacks own plane'
29 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific
China hijack pilot on hunger strike
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