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Example:

The hijackers were said to demand the plane to fly to Iran

The only think I could think of was 有人告訴 (somebody said), and putting it at the beginning, like:

有人告訴劫機者...

Is this right? Or is there a better option?

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告訴 means to tell; 说 means to say. 据说 would be a better word. –  Question Overflow Jan 18 at 3:43
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3 Answers 3

X were said to do Y

can be translated to

据说X想做Y

PS.

The hijackers were said to demand the plane to fly to Iran

is equal to

It is said that hijackers want to demand the plane to fly to Iran.

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I think @Question Overflow tells the different.

告訴 means to tell

e.g. You are told to bring your book to classroom.

When in a passive voice, 告诉 has the mean of request. Therefore last sentence means you are request to bring your book.

说 means to say.

When in a passive voice, 说 is same as 'somebody said' or 'it is said'. Therefore 说 is a better choice for your case. When the person who tell the message is not important, we say 据说 or 据传, which is the same as 'it is said' in English.

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有人告訴劫機者...

Is actually the opposite to the original meaning. Instead it is

(有人)告诉(其他人)劫机者...

Which is equivalent to

据说,劫机者...

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