Plane may have flew for four hours after vanishingConfusion over missing plane has shamed Malaysia
Police investigating the backgrounds of all 239 people aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight are paying “special attention” to a 35 year-old Chinese Uighur man who undertook flight simulation training, according to a report in a leading Malay language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur.
The Uighurs Muslim ethnic minority group from the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang have been battling for independence since they were brought under Chinese control in 1949, claiming they are oppressed by China’s authoritarian government and face religious restrictions and widespread discrimination.
Earlier this month the Uighurs, who make up 45 percent of the population of Xinjiang, were blamed for a violent attack at a Chinese train station.
At least 100 people have been killed in the past year in violent clashes between Uighurs and Chinese security forces.
The Harian Metro newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying the man is not a suspect over the plane’s disappearance but that investigators were delving into his background.
According to the source the man has a PHD from a university in Britain was recently worked as a lecturer at a university in Turkey.
The source said he undertook flight simulation training in Sweden in around 2006.
Malaysian officials have not confirmed the information.
No group has claimed responsibility for the plane’s disappearance.
Police are checking the psychological and personal backgrounds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew, including chief pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah whose house has been raided by police.
Police questioned his family about his behaviour over the days before the plane’s disappearance, the same as they plan to do for all who were on board.
Mr Zharie is a veteran pilot with 18,000 flying hours.
Police say they are investigating the possibilities of hijacking or sabotage.