Hoax threats of bombs, radiation and hijacking of aircraft will be treated as acts of terror by police and judicial authorities, according to a new regulation unveiled on Sept 21.
The notice on legal references on handling violence, terrorist and extremist religious cases, jointly released by the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security, stipulates that making hoax threats of bombs, biochemical weapons, radiation, hijacking of aircraft or natural disasters will bring punishment for faking terrorist information.
Those who are aware of the threat being a hoax and who try to spread the information will also be punished, the regulation said.
Faking or spreading hoax threats that cause major social turbulence will bring harsher punishment, it said.
The notice gave detailed guidance on the principles of handling terrorist acts of different kinds, defining the nature of cases and the criteria for defining cases in accordance with criminal law.
It aimed to punish activities of violence, terrorism and religious extremism and prevent such cases from happening.
According to the notice, broadcasting or sharing contents of religious extremism, terrorism and violence through websites, online forums, instant messaging tools and cellphone applications is punishable for the offense of splitting the State. Displaying, selling, designing or producing badges of religious extremism or terrorism is also punishable for the same offense.
The notice was unveiled after a number of hoax threats to hijack jetliners were made in recent years.
In August of last year, police in Hubei province detained a 17-year-old boy who allegedly made a bomb hoax call that disrupted airport traffic because he “felt bored”. The boy called Yichang Sanxia Airport, claiming his friend was in a taxi to the airport carrying knives and explosives.
In October, police in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, detained another suspect who allegedly made false bomb threats that affected four flights leaving and bound for Changsha.