Pirates held in Busan like Korean food, legal system

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Pirates held in Busan like Korean food, legal system


Arai Mahomed

The Busan Coast Guard thinks Somali pirate Arai Mahomed was responsible for the gunshots that put Samho Jewelry Capt. Seok Hae-gyun in critical condition, but Mahomed has vehemently denied it.

And the detained pirates are already praising Korea’s legal system, its food and even the prison bedding.

Coast Guard officials have started their interrogation of the five captured pirates in earnest, and the pirates answered questions until 11:30 p.m. Monday, said a Busan Coast Guard official. The officials now have personal information on the rest of the 13 pirates who hijacked the Samho Jewelry, eight of whom were killed in the two military assaults that rescued the crew and ship.

The leader, Abdi Risqe Shakh, 28, and his right-hand man, Suti Ali Harut, 29, were both killed, according to the pirates’ testimonies. It wasn’t clear whether they were killed in the first assault on Jan. 17 or the final one on Jan. 21.

Of the 13 pirates, 10 were from the Puntland region in northeastern Somalia, according to the Coast Guard.

“The special investigative team will request the National Forensic Service to appraise the four bullets found in Captain Seok’s body and determine which gun the bullets came from, and who shot Seok from the fingerprints on the guns,” said the Coast Guard official.


A Korean sailor on the Samho Jewelry waves to reporters on Monday in the port of Muscat, Oman. [YONHAP]

The investigators have come to the conclusion that Mahomed shot Seok during the final assault.

“[Mahomed] is stubbornly denying the charges, saying he never laid hands on a gun,” said the Coast Guard official. Mahomed briefly admitted he shot the captain on Sunday, and then changed his testimony when another pirate identified him as the shooter.

Mahomed was taken to the hospital on Monday after complaining of an injury on the back of his hand. After being treated, he was returned for questioning with his hand bandaged to keep down swelling, the investigative team said. The team said they would cross-examine Mahomed and the pirate who accused him of shooting Seok. Officials will also be bringing in the Korean sailors who were on the Samho Jewelry for questioning. They are expected to arrive today at 9:05 a.m. at Busan’s Gimhae International Airport. Five Korean officials sent to Oman to investigate will question the ship’s foreign crew - two Indonesians and 11 Burmese.

The officials are still looking into whether the pirates intentionally targeted Korean vessels after the Samho Dream was ransomed for a record-breaking $9.5 million last year.

Meanwhile, one of the pirates remarked on his first day in Korea, according to the Coast Guard, “Somalia has severe internal conflict and security is awful, but I think Korea’s legal system is well-established. It’s impressive that our safety is cared for and even our human rights.” Another pirate said while behind bars, “Korean food is better than I thought. The bed isn’t so bad either. I think Korea is a good country.”

By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article [머니투데이]

석 선장 총격혐의 아라이 "난 아냐!"

삼호주얼리호 석해균 선장에게 총격을 가한 해적으로 지목된 마호메드 아라이(23)가 현재 자신의 살인미수 혐의를 강하게 부인하고 있는 것으로 알려졌다.

소말리아 해적에 대한 수사 3일째인 남해해양경찰서 특별수사본부는 1일 오전 브리핑에서 "마호메드 아라이는 `자신은 총을 만져본 사실이 없다`고 진술하고 있다"고 밝혔다.

총기류와 관련해 해적들의 진술도 엇갈리고 있다. 한 해적은 삼호주얼리호 납치 당시에 해적 전원이 각자 총기류를 소지하고 배를 강취한 사실을 시인했으나 다른 해적은 강취사실을 인정하면서도 총기류를 사용은 극구 부인하고 있다.

또 수사본부는 "생포한 해적 5명을 포함한 10명의 해적이 같은 지역 출신으로 두목인 아브디 리스끄 샤크(Abdi Risqe Shakh, 예명 : 오디 아비사르.28)와 부두목 스우티 알리 하루(Suti Ali Harut.29)는 지난 `아덴만 여명` 작전 당시 한국군에게 사살됐다고 진술했다"고 밝혔다. …

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