...As Vietnamese "Freedom" Pilot Waits In Jail...

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Another pilot who supported the efforts of Cuban exiles is now serving a seven-year sentence in a Thai prison, convicted of hijacking an airplane to drop anti-communist leaflets over Ho Chi Minh City in November 2000. Ly Tong says he didn't use force against the pilot but bribed him with $10,000 to relinquish control. Ly has a long history of anti-communist aerial pamphleteering, and his supporters around the world say he is a freedom fighter and a hero. In January 2000, he rented an airplane in Miami and flew over Havana, scattering leaflets calling for Castro's ouster. In 1992, he took control of a Vietnam Airlines jetliner that launched in Bangkok and scattered 50,000 leaflets over Ho Chi Minh City, which then was known as Saigon. He escaped by jumping from the cockpit with a parachute, but was captured and imprisoned. He flew as a bomber pilot for the South Vietnamese air force during the Vietnam War and was captured by the North Vietnamese after his plane was shot down. He escaped from a prison camp in 1980 and was granted asylum in the U.S. Ly and his supporters now are lobbying for his transfer from Thailand to the U.S. His sentence was handed down in December.