A Chinese Air Force pilot flew his MIG-19 fighter to Taiwan on Thursday (July 7) and local radio reports said he was carrying important military documents.
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Background: A Chinese Air Force pilot flew his MIG-19 fighter to Taiwan on Thursday (July 7) and local radio reports said he was carrying important military documents. Squadron Leader Fan Yuan-Yen, aged 41, flew into the Taipan base in southern Taiwan after changing course during a routine flight from Fukien province in eastern China.
SYNOPSIS: Squadron Leader Fan is the fifth member of the Chinese Air Force to defect to Taiwan since 1960.
A Taiwan military spokesman said Fan was safe after his mid-afternoon flight across the Taiwan Strait. According to a report from the Central News Agency (CNA), Fan told people on arrival that life in China was miserable, and he couldn't stand it any longer. The CNA said Fan would receive 4-thousand ounces of gold -- worth about 800-thousand US dollars -- (GBP470,000 sterling) as a reward for defecting. That's the price paid to military defectors from the mainland. The CNA quoted Fan saying he had defected on Thursday because this was the day he was scheduled to lead his squadron for a patrol mission over the Taiwan Strait. He told air force controllers at Taipan he wanted human rights. Fan lived in the Szechwan province in south-west China. In 1974, the CNA said there was a defection in the opposite direction. A Taiwanese naval officer defected to China by crossing the Taiwan Strait in a rubber raft. He took with him a heavy machine gun, two pistols and a radio transmitter.