Airport trespasser questioned by prosecutors, remains silent

2019/11/03 16:39:04 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Airport trespasser questioned by prosecutors, remains silent

Taipei, Nov. 3 (CNA) A foreign national arrested Saturday after trying to climb on a China Airlines (CAL) plane preparing to take off at Taoyuan International Airport continued to remain silent while being questioned by prosecutors Sunday.

After spending the night at the airport's immigration detention center, the suspect was sent to the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office on Sunday morning for questioning related to his intrusion into the airport's restricted area, in violation of the Aviation Security Act.

The suspect has not spoken a word since his arrest at around 2 p.m. Saturday despite immigration officers trying to communicate with him in different languages.

He did not have any form of identification on him when he was arrested, but police found a notebook written in Russian and a bible in the two backpacks he had with him when arrested.

Yet when approached by a Russian interpreter, the suspect continued to remain silent.

Immigration officers also have found no records of the foreign suspect entering Taiwan, and they believe he may have been smuggled into Taiwan.

If that is the case, he could face a maximum three-year prison term or a NT$90,000 (US$2,927) fine for violating the Immigration Act, police said.

The dramatic incident was first noticed by a pilot of an Asiana Airlines flight waiting behind CAL flight CI028 to Palau as the latter was taxiing toward the runway for takeoff, according to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Co. (TIAC).

The man was spotted darting out from bushes on airport grounds and then trying to climb on the landing gear of the Boeing 737-800 jet at 1:55 p.m. Saturday, but he was later overpowered by airport security.

The CAL flight, originally scheduled to depart at 1:35 p.m., was delayed as the plane returned to the apron for a safety check and all 149 passengers were transferred to another airplane, which later took off at 4:40 p.m., according to CAL and TIAC.

It was the first time such an intrusion took place at the largest airport in Taiwan.

There was speculation that the man could have gotten into the area from the construction site of Terminal 3, but local authorities have yet to reach any conclusions about how the incident happened.

(By Chiu Chun-chin, Wu Jui-chi and Joseph Yeh)
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