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'Joker' on JAL plane sparks hijack hysteria.

OSAKA, Sept. 26 Kyodo

A male passenger on an international flight leaving Kansai airport Wednesday ''jokingly'' told a female friend by mobile phone that the plane was being hijacked, sparking a hijacking scare, police said.

The woman in Kyoto Prefecture reported the man's remark to the local police in the morning, telling them that a Japan Airlines (JAL) plane bound for Seoul from Kansai airport near Osaka may be hijacked.

The woman told the police she had received an e-mail message from the man suggesting the plane being hijacked via his mobile phone around 10:20 a.m. before it took off. When she talked with him over phone, he jokingly said the plane was being hijacked, according to the police.

The police checked with airline companies but none of them reported any hijacking threat.

According to JAL, the flight safely arrived in Seoul at 12:16 p.m. and the South Korean authorities are questioning the man.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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