Two Chinese men who hijacked a jetliner in 1993 and flew to Taiwan were repatriated to China yesterday, Chinese state media reported.
Yang Mingde (楊明德) and Lin Wenqiang (林文強) arrived by ship in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, under police escort and would later fly to Shandong Province, Xinhua news agency said.
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement that Yang and Lin were among 18 Chinese who were jailed after hijacking passenger planes from China during a spate of hijackings between 1993 and 1998.
Only one convicted hijacker remains jailed in Taiwan. The others have been repatriated.
It was not clear what legal actions China would take against Yang and Lin.
The pair were to have been repatriated in 1999 but tried to commandeer the plane taking them back to China in a last-ditch attempt to avoid being returned.
The two men and two other deportees had hidden sharpened pieces of metal in their clothes and planned to demand that the jet be flown to the US.
Their hijack attempt was thwarted and they were returned to Taiwan to face a new set of charges.
Taiwan used to welcome some Chinese hijackers as anti-communist heroes, but began prosecuting them as tensions with Beijing began to lessen and contacts expanded between the sides of the Strait in the 1990s.
The repatriation yesterday was carried out in accordance with a 1990 agreement signed between Red Cross organizations on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Xinhua said.