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June 24, 2017

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Terrorist threat made to China Airlines passed on to authorities

Information regarding a terrorist threat made against Beijing Capital International Airport was passed on to the Civil Aviation Administration of China in Beijing on March 5, China Airlines said yesterday.

Peng Rong-min (彭榮敏), head representative of China Airlines' Beijing Office, said that on March 4, an unknown man made a phone call to China Airlines' main office in Taipei, saying that a terrorist attack will take place in Beijing Capital International Airport.

Peng said that the airlines immediately reported this information to the Aviation Police Bureau.

According to China Airlines, the unknown man claimed to be a member of the East Turkestan Liberation Organization, and that the organization would carry out a bombing at the Beijing Capital International Airport.

China Airlines said that the caller spoke French at the beginning of the phone call, but later switched to Mandarin when the airline employee could not understand French.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), which was informed by China Airlines about the phone call, said that the authenticity of the phone call could not be verified.

CAA Vice Director Lee Wan-lee (李萬里) said that the administration also had no information regarding whether other countries had received similar phone calls.

However, Lee said, the CAA still took the matter seriously, and the Aviation Police Bureau will reinforce security checks on flights traveling between Taiwan and Mainland China.

Peng said that passengers will need to undergo two ID inspections by ground agents before boarding flights between Taipei and Beijing.

According to Peng, after the airline passed on the information, the Civil Aviation Administration of China immediately dispatched two officials to a China Airlines office to obtain recordings of the call.

The Aviation Police Bureau said that the police usually receive information regarding aviation security every once in a while, and the bureau always reinforces security to prevent accidents from happening.

According to the bureau, authorities must confirm information they receive, and they are still verifying the authenticity of the call to China Airlines.

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