Two Chinese men hijacked a domestic airliner Thursday from China to Taiwan, where they were granted asylum. The jet took the other 116 people aboard back to China early today.
The Boeing 737 was hijacked Thursday evening, shortly after it left Xiamen--on the coast opposite Taiwan--for Canton, about 300 miles to the southwest. The two hijackers, armed with guns, ordered the plane to Taiwan. It was intercepted by Taiwan jets as it crossed the Taiwan Strait and escorted to a military airport at Taichung in central Taiwan.
After refueling, the airliner left early today and returned to Xiamen. An official at the Xiamen office of China's national airline, CAAC, confirmed that the plane had landed there and that the passengers were in good condition.
The hijackers were identified as Chang Chingkuo, 27, an arsenal worker in southern Yunnan province, and Lung Kueiyun, 26, a steel mill employee in Guizhou province.
It was the first hijacking of a Chinese passenger airliner to Taiwan. Several military pilots have defected to the island since Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists retreated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists.