Chinese pair who fled airport are apprehended

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Chinese pair who fled airport are apprehended

Incheon International Airport announced Monday that two Chinese nationals broke through local security systems last week to illegally make their way into the country.

The foreigner, a man and a woman, both 31, were arrested Monday afternoon in Cheonan, South Chungcheong, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Seoul.

Authorities have yet to provide further details on the couple’s relationship or their motive, but said that documents showed they arrived here in transit. Whether they have any connections to a terrorist network in Korea or abroad is yet unknown.

The pair arrived at the airport at 7:31 p.m. Wednesday from Honolulu and was scheduled to embark on a Beijing-bound flight the following day at 8:17 p.m.

Monday’s announcement on their escape came four days after they went missing from Korea’s largest airport.

According to airport officials, the Chinese suspects are believed to have snuck out around 1:25 a.m. on Thursday via the third floor of the passenger terminal near the tax-free zone after customs authorities there had left work.

The suspects walked through an unlocked automatic glass door and arrived at a security checkpoint.

They passed through the checkpoint to arrive at another automatic glass door, which was locked, that leads to the passenger terminal.

The two seem to have forced it open.

The airport said that a security guard standing nearby did not notice the suspects pass through.

The airport reportedly discovered that the two had gone missing nearly 20 hours after they fled when they did not show up for their flight to Beijing.

Officials said they are currently looking into the site’s security systems for further details and are not sure how the pair made their getaway.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed that the Chinese nationals did not have entry visas for Korea and that they had no documented plans to travel around Korea during the day they had in-between flights.

Details about their arrest Monday evening were scarce as of press time.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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