China: Woman with hidden lighter held at airport

Chinese police arrested a woman carrying a lighter in her bra while boarding a flight in the troubled Xinjiang province.

Beijing: Chinese police arrested a woman carrying a lighter in her bra while boarding a flight in the troubled Xinjiang province, where a hijacking bid using crutches was foiled less than two months ago.

The woman was intercepted last Saturday at the security checkpoint at an airport in the city of Hotan, where she was attempting to board an Air China flight to the regional capital of Urumqi, state-run news agency Xinhua reported today.

The lighter was detected by a metal detector.

When security officers asked her if she had brought any prohibited items, she said no.

A body search later, revealed the presence of cash and a lighter in her bra, the report said without identifying the woman or her ethnicity.

Xinjiang, home to Uyghur Muslims of Turkic origin has witnessed ethnic strife between Uyghurs and Hans of the Chinese mainland.

Uyghurs allege increasing settlements of Han Chinese is marginalising them in their homeland.

The province, which borders Pakistan occupied Kashmir, (PoK) and Afghanistan where China has deployed heavy security personnel was scene of riots and deadly attacks by Uyghur militants in recent years.

The Hotan airport most recently grabbed headlines when six men wielding improvised weapons made out of a crutch attempted to hijack a Tianjin Airlines flight bound for Urumqi on June 29.

The hijacking was foiled by air marshals and passengers who overpowered the hijackers.

It was reported that one of the hijackers was wheeled onto the plane in the guise of a disabled person.

Following this, airports in Xinjiang were ordered to scale up security, with passengers required to take off their shoes and belts at security checkpoints and submit documentation for any medical equipment they bring onboard.

Public complaints about the increased security, particularly from women, have led some to question whether regional authorities have been overreacting, the Xinhua report said.

On March 07, 2008, a 19-year-old woman onboard a China Southern flight attempted to light a can of gasoline in the plane`s bathroom, but was stopped before she could ignite the can.


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