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FedEx pilot suspected of ‘smuggling weapons’ in China

  • AIRMAN 1ST CLASS KIRBY TURBAK/U.S. AIR FORCE VIA AP / 2016
                                The U.S. Air Force, Air Force Col. Todd Hohn, foreground, and pilots assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing are briefed on an exercise at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Hohn, now a pilot for FedEx, was detained in Guangzhou, China, before boarding a commercial flight. The company said Thursday, Sept. 19, that he was later released, and it’s working with Chinese authorities to understand what happened.

    AIRMAN 1ST CLASS KIRBY TURBAK/U.S. AIR FORCE VIA AP / 2016

    The U.S. Air Force, Air Force Col. Todd Hohn, foreground, and pilots assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing are briefed on an exercise at Altus Air Force Base, Okla. Hohn, now a pilot for FedEx, was detained in Guangzhou, China, before boarding a commercial flight. The company said Thursday, Sept. 19, that he was later released, and it’s working with Chinese authorities to understand what happened.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2017
                                A FedEx cargo plane sits idle during the day at Richmond International Airport in Sandston, Va. FedEx says one of its pilots was detained in China after an item was found in his luggage before he boarded a commercial flight. The company said the pilot was later released, and it is working with Chinese authorities to understand what happened at the airport in Guangzhou, in southern China.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS / 2017

    A FedEx cargo plane sits idle during the day at Richmond International Airport in Sandston, Va. FedEx says one of its pilots was detained in China after an item was found in his luggage before he boarded a commercial flight. The company said the pilot was later released, and it is working with Chinese authorities to understand what happened at the airport in Guangzhou, in southern China.

BEIJING >> A FedEx pilot who was detained in southern China is under investigation on suspicion of “smuggling weapons and ammunition” after air gun pellets were found in his baggage, a foreign ministry spokesman said Friday.

The pilot was detained Sept. 12 in Guangzhou while boarding a flight to Hong Kong, said the spokesman, Geng Shuang. He said customs inspectors found a box holding 681 air gun pellets in his bag.

The pilot was questioned and released on bail on “suspicion of smuggling weapons and ammunition,” Geng said at a regular news briefing. “The case is under investigation.”

The Wall Street Journal identified the pilot as Todd A. Hohn. It said he was told he can’t leave mainland China until the investigation is finished.

“We are working with the appropriate authorities to gain a better understanding of the facts,” a FedEx Corp. spokeswoman said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.

FedEx, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, has been caught up in U.S.-Chinese trade tension.

This year, Chinese technology giant Huawei complained about deliveries that FedEx misrouted. In June, FedEx sued the Commerce Department to stop enforcement of export rules that restrict shipments to Huawei and other entities. Huawei is on a list of companies barred from receiving U.S. technology without a Commerce Department license.

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