China Detains Australian Man over Bomb Threat

An Australian businessman who said he was lovesick and depressed was detained over a bomb threat that forced an airline flight to Australia to make an emergency landing in China, a government news agency reported Wednesday.

Police identified the man as Wong Chung-wah, a Hong Kong-born businessman in the cosmetics industry, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing airport security officials in the southern city of Guangzhou. It didn't say whether Wong had been charged.

The China Southern Airlines flight from Guangzhou to Sydney returned to Guangzhou late Monday after a passenger found a note on board warning of a bomb. More than 200 passengers were evacuated while police searched the aircraft, Xinhua said.

Authorities found no trace of a bomb and the plane later took off again for its overnight flight to Sydney.

Wong was detained after police identified him as the author of the note by verifying his handwriting, Xinhua said. It said he told police he made the threat because he was lovesick and suffering from depression.

Phone calls to the security office at the Guangzhou airport weren't answered.

An Australian government spokeswoman identified the detainee as a 39-year-old man from the Australian state of New South Wales. She wouldn't give his name.

Australian diplomats were trying to gain access to the detainee, said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with government policy.


Associated Press writer Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.

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