Panic onboard

Pilot requests emergency landing in Bangkok after Bangladeshi passenger pulls out a knife

Published on April 9, 2008

A passenger’s odd behaviour created panic on a commercial aircraft and fears of a hijacking for officials in Bangkok yesterday.


By ripping up paper, pulling out a knife and refusing to speak to anyone, a 23-year-old Bangladeshi passenger on flight GMG 042 from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka was the cause of an emergency landing at Don Mueang Airport.

The passenger was identified as Harun Or Rashid Hasan Ali.

At around 9.15am yesterday, Don Mueang’s air-traffic control tower received a request for an emergency landing from the plane’s captain.

“The captain was worried about a possible hijack,” Airports of Thailand president Air Marshal Chana U-sathaporn said at a press conference.

Authorities sent police officers and Royal Thai Air Force special taskforce members to board the plane immediately after it landed. They escorted Hasan Ali to Terminal One, where he was interrogated.

“We have searched his luggage but there was no weapon inside,” Chana said.

Avoiding chaos

According to Chana, the aircraft first sought permission to land at Suvarnabhumi Airport but was instructed to land at Don Mueang instead.

“It’s not as crowded as Suvarnabhumi Airport. In case the use of force was necessary, fewer people would have been affected,” Chana explained.

Metropolitan Police Division II commander Maj-General Worasak Nopsittiporn said Hasan Ali refused to answer many of the questions.

“We only know he had been in Malaysia for about three months when he was engaged in a brawl, after which Malaysian authorities told him to leave the country. That’s why he boarded the flight to Dhaka,” Worasak said.

He added that Hasan Ali was not facing any charges and had already been handed over to Bangladeshi diplomats.

“We will alert the Malaysian authorities that the passenger brought a weapon on to the plane without permission,” Worasak said.

Thai police will also conduct an extensive background check on Hasan Ali.

By Monthien Intaket

Daily Xpress


A handout picture taken by a mobile phone released by Thai airport authority on 08 April 2008 shows Harun Rashid Hassan Ali, 25, being arrested by authorities on a low-cost Bangladesh airline plane after an emergency landing at Don Muang airport, Bangkok, Thailand, 08 April 2008. The GMG Airlines 042 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka, made an emergency landing at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport after a man caused panic among passengers after taking out a knife, airport authorities said


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