JAKARTA: Indonesian Sukhoi jets forced an aircraft with three Singaporeans on board to land in Supadio military airbase in Pontianak, Kalimantan on Tuesday (Oct 28). The Indonesian military (TNI) said the plane illegally flew into its airspace.
The TNI’s communications department sent out a circular saying the Beechcraft 9L aircraft with registration number VH-PKF was used for training and is believed to have been registered in Singapore.
Airforce radars first detected the plane at 10:15am (11.15am Singapore time) on Tuesday flying from the southern area of Singapore to East Malaysia. Two Indonesian airforce pilots took off from Batam to intercept the aircraft but the plane had quickly entered Malaysian airspace.
At 1pm (2pm Singapore time), radars detected the unidentified plane re-entering Indonesian airspace, using the same route on its return journey, the TNI stated. It said the plane entered Indonesian airspace at 20,000 feet at speeds of 250-350 knots per hour.
Officials are questioning the pilot, co-pilot and a man wearing military attributes. The three men on board have been named as Singaporean nationals Tan Chin Kia, who is said to be the pilot, and M Z Heng Chia and Bo Hong, who are reportedly students.
This is the second time this month that Indonesian airforce pilots had to force down a foreign civilian aircraft suspected of violating Indonesian airspace. On Oct 22, airforce pilots intercepted an Australian plane as it flew over North Sulawesi. Two Australians were on board and they had been flying from Darwin to Cebu, Philippines.