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China: FedEx pilot suspected of ‘smuggling weapons’

September 20, 2019 GMT
FILE- In this April 18, 2017, file photo, 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 Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 the pilot was later released, and it is working with Chinese authorities to understand what happened at the airport in Guangzhou, in southern China.(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
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FILE- In this April 18, 2017, file photo, 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 Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 the pilot was later released, and it is working with Chinese authorities to understand what happened at the airport in Guangzhou, in southern China.(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
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FILE- In this April 18, 2017, file photo, 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 Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 the pilot was later released, and it is working with Chinese authorities to understand what happened at the airport in Guangzhou, in southern China.(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

BEIJING (AP) — 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.”

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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.