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FedEx pilot detained, released by police in South China

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(Reuters) – FedEx Corp <FDX.N> on Thursday said that Chinese authorities in the southern city of Guangzhou detained and later released one of its pilots on bail.

The pilot was taken into custody “after an item was found in his luggage prior to a commercial flight. We are working with the appropriate authorities to gain a better understanding of the facts,” FedEx said in a statement.

The pilot, identified as former U.S. Air Force pilot Todd Hohn, was detained a week ago at the Guangzhou airport, a FedEx regional hub, according to a Wall Street Journal report, citing a lawyer for the pilot’s family.

That report said that when Hohn was detained, his checked bag contained nonmetallic pellets used in low-power replica air guns.

FedEx, which gets about a third of its revenue from outside the United States, has been ensnared in tensions between the United States and China.

Earlier this week, FedEx slashed its fiscal 2020 profit forecast by 18 percent. Executives said the U.S.-China trade war is dampening key economies in Europe and Asia and hurting its Express business that moves parcels and freight via airplane around the globe.

Memphis-based FedEx is also the target of Chinese ire over shipping mistakes involving several packages, including parcels addressed to China’s Huawei Technologies Co, which Washington has put on an export blacklist.

(Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Cynthia Osterman)

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