YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Mystery Woman in Plane Crash Taken to Seoul

December 15, 1987|Times Wire Services

SEOUL, South Korea — A mysterious Asian woman suspected of leaving a bomb aboard a Korean Air Lines jet that disappeared near Burma with 115 aboard arrived under tight security in Seoul today, her mouth bandaged by authorities to prevent her from committing suicide.

Arriving on the same flight with the woman, identified on her forged Japanese passport as Mayumi Hachiya, was the body of a male companion who joined her in a double suicide attempt after the two were taken into custody by Bahrain authorities.

The woman and her companion, identified on his false passport as Shinichi Hachiya, had left the aircraft at a stop in Abu Dhabi, and were later detained by immigration officers in nearby Bahrain. They bit cyanide capsules hidden in a pack of cigarettes before questioning began.

KAL Flight 858 was flying Korean workers home from Baghdad, Iraq, when it vanished Nov. 29. The pair left the plane during a stopover in Abu Dhabi before the jet left for a refueling stop in Bangkok. It never arrived in Thailand.

The young woman and the body of the man were handed over to South Korean officials in Bahrain Monday night.

Bags Left on Plane

South Korean officials suspect that the woman extradited to Seoul is a North Korean agent. North Korea denied that it had anything to do with the plane.

The unidentified woman and a male companion traveled on the flight from Baghdad to Abu Dhabi. South Korean officials say they believe the couple left several bags on the plane that could have contained a bomb.

Ten minutes after the plane from Bahrain touched down in Seoul today, the woman came slowly down the ramp with two guards holding her arms. She appeared very shaken, and some observers said she might have been sedated.

A wide elastic bandage was plastered across her mouth and cheeks. Officials said it was to prevent her from committing suicide by biting her tongue. They did not explain how such a bite could result in death.

Los Angeles Times Articles