Power unit cable of China Airlines plane severed by cleaning worker at Taiwan Taoyuan Intl. Airport

The incident happened in August, and may indicate an attempt at sabotage

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China Airlines Airbus A-330

China Airlines Airbus A-330 (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) –- A report concerning an incident at Taoyuan International Airport last month, has raised the possibility there may have been an attempt to sabotage a China Airlines aircraft.

On Aug. 21, China Airlines reported to the Aviation Police Bureau that the power unit cable supplying electricity to an A-330 passenger aircraft undergoing maintenance had been inexplicably cut.

After checking footage of the maintenance hangar, it was discovered that a 57 year old male employee of a cleaning company, surnamed Jian (簡), had entered the hanger on the evening of Sept. 19 after maintenance staff had finished their shifts for the day.

The cleaning crew of which Jian was a member was to start their shift at 10:00p.m., but Jian was seen entering the maintenance area at 9:00p.m., an hour before his shift was to start.

Jian was questioned and subsequently arrested for severing the plane’s power unit cable, an act which compromised the safety of the aircraft.

Jian has been employed by the Hua-Hsia cleaning Company (華夏清潔公司) for six years, and reportedly had only minimal interaction with his colleagues.

When asked by Aviation Bureau Police why he had cut the line, he initially denied any knowledge of the incident. After being shown the security footage, he claimed he had decided to enter the aircraft cabin to clean items stored onboard.

CNA reports that China Airlines has already repaired the severed power unit cable. Every aircraft must pass a close inspection to meet safety standards before being allowed to fly.

Jian has been suspended indefinitely from his employment with the cleaning company, and an investigation is ongoing by Aviation Police to determine a motive for the crime. The man has been charged with destruction of property, according to the CNA report.

During the month of August Taiwanese pilots from major airlines, including China Airlines, were in the midst of a campaign protesting for better working conditions. The airlines successfully averted a pilot strike by extending negotiations for another year.