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Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Police chief denies reports that 5 passengers did not board MH370

Published on Mar 11, 2014 5:21 PM
 
Passengers check in for a Malaysia Airlines flight from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur at China's Beijing Airport on March 10, 2014. The mysterious five passengers who checked in but did not board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 do not exist after all, according to Malaysia's police chief Khalid Abu Bakar. -- PHOTO: AFP

The mysterious five passengers who checked in but did not board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 do not exist after all, according to Malaysia's police chief Khalid Abu Bakar.

He told a press conference on Tuesday that everyone who had bought a ticket for last Saturday's flight had boarded.

"From our investigations, there were no five passengers who checked in and did not board," he said in response to a question.

The mysterious five had been the subject of curiosity since Sunday when Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation director Azharuddin Abdul Rahman repeatedly confirmed their existence.

He said several times that their bags had been removed, in accordance with standard procedures, when they did not board the flight last Saturday after checking in.

"But we have to remove the baggage that they checked in... we have done so on this aircraft," he said on Monday.

Mr Khalid did not explain how the confusion arose.

The mysterious five was not the only confusion to crop up in the investigation into the missing Boeing 777-200 plane that lost contact about 50 minutes after it took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Two passengers who boarded with stolen Italian and Austrian passports were initially described by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamid to have "Asian facial features". This was later dismissed by Mr Azharuddin.

On Tuesday, one of them was revealed to be Iranian. The other man has not been identified.

joycel@sph.com.sg

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