FedEx pilot was recently detained in China on suspicion of “smuggling weapons” amid an escalating row between the American shipping company and the Chinese government.
After making a delivery to the mainland, pilot Todd Hohn was arrested at the airport in Guangzhou while trying to board a commercial flight back to his home in Hong Kong following a baggage search which reportedly revealed that he was carrying “nonmetallic pellets used in low-power replica air guns.”
On Friday, China’s foreign ministry confirmed that Hohn, a former US Air Force pilot, had been arrested on September 12 after a box containing 681 air-filled pellets was found in his luggage. He has since been released on bail but must remain in mainland China until Chinese authorities complete their investigation and decide whether to pursue a trial.
If you are American, don't go to China https://t.co/twvOOWvUUK
— Carrie Lam Hairdresser Balding (@BaldingsWorld) September 19, 2019
The strange incident follows a summer of conflict between China and FedEx which has managed to get itself wrapped up in both Trump’s trade war and the Hong Kong protests.
In June, the Chinese government started an investigation into FedEx allegedly diverting and holding back packages meant for the headquarters of controversial Chinese tech giant Huawei. FedEx then went on to sue the US government over export restrictions targeting Huawei.
Then, in early September, China launched another probe into FedEx allegedly shipping a package of illegal knives to Hong Kong where anti-government demonstrations have seen police and protesters clashing in the streets for months.