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Suspect Refuses to Answer KAL Crash Questions

December 03, 1987|United Press International

SEOUL, South Korea — A woman suspected in the crash of a Korean Air jetliner remained silent today when questioned by South Korean and Japanese officials after a suicide attempt.

The woman regained consciousness early today at a Bahrain military hospital, where she was taken after she tried to kill herself Tuesday, but she "closed her eyes" after the bedside questioning, Japanese Charge d'Affaires Takao Natsumi told reporters in Manama, Bahrain.

South Korea is seeking permission from Bahrain for a special investigative team to interrogate the woman, who disembarked from the ill-fated KAL jet with a man on its last stop before the plane crashed along the Thai-Burmese border Sunday with 115 people aboard.

Wreckage Not Found

A KAL spokesman said a joint search with Burmese authorities in a jungle near the Thai-Burmese border has not located the wreckage of the Boeing 707.

The woman's forged passport identified her as Mayumi Hachiya, 28. Her companion also carried a forged Japanese passport under the name of Shinichi Hachiya, 60, but Japanese authorities believe he is Akira Miyamoto, a North Korean spy suspect.

The two were halted at the Bahrain Airport immigration counter while trying to board a flight for Rome via Amman on Tuesday. They both bit into poison-laced cigarettes while authorities were examining their passports.

The man died but the woman collapsed and remained comatose until today. Two Japanese officials and the charge d'affaires from the South Korean Embassy in Manama were permitted by Bahraini officials to question her for 30 minutes, Natsumi said.

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