ZHENGZHOU, Dec 6 – A man in central China’s Henan Province has been detained in connection with an alleged bomb threat that forced two passenger planes to remain grounded last week, airport police said on Thursday.
Twenty-three-year-old Zhou Anwei, a native of the city of Zhoukou, was apprehended and confessed to making false threats about a timed bomb that was supposedly planted on a plane operated by China Southern Airlines (CZ) flying from the city of Guangzhou to the provincial capital of Zhengzhou on Saturday, according to Chen Minglong, deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Henan Airport Public Security Bureau.
Two CZ flights were grounded for further checks after Zhou called police three times about the hoax, incurring direct economic losses of 350,000 yuan ($56,000) for the airline, Chen said.
Zhou told the police he was inspired by a series of bomb hoaxes that were previously reported online.
Zhou claimed he perpetrated the hoax in order to convince his family to give him financial support, as his relatives had refused to give him money after he was fired from his job just days before the incident.
Zhou was arrested one day after local police launched their manhunt and is now in detention, police said.
Several bomb threats have grounded Chinese planes in recent months.
In early October, a suspect was detained after fabricating a terrorist threat directed at a plane travelling from Istanbul to Beijing. The plane was forced to make an emergency landing.
In late August, an Air China flight bound for New York returned to Beijing after a threatening message was received. No dangerous items were found on the plane.