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China sentences Myanmar pirates

China sentences Myanmar pirates

The statesman (New Delhi)
August 23, 2000

BEIJING. August, 22.-- A Chinese court has handed down sentences ranging
from death to prison terms to 14 pirates from Myanmar for hijacking a
Taiwanese cargo ship carrying alkali, bound for Calcutta port, in March
1999, the state media reported today.

A court in south China's Guangxi region yesterday charged the pirates
with raiding the cargo ship Marine Master and setting its 21 crew
members adrift in the Andaman sea, a rep from Nanning, provincial
capital, said.

The head of the pirate gang, Maung Htay Aung, was sentenced to death
with a two year reprieve while Kwaw Soe and Kyaw Soe Lin were given life
terms, Xinhua said. The court ordered confiscation of their personal

Eleven other pirates were sentenced to prison terms from three to 10
years. They were also fined and deported from China, Xinhua said.

The pirates hijacked the ship on 17 March 1999 when it was sailing
through the Andaman sea south of Myanmar, heading from China's eastern
port of Zhangjiagang to Calcutta.

They seized the cargo as well as crew members' valuables worth more than
over $680,000.

The crew was then forced into a lifeboat, which drifted for 10 days,
before being rescued by fishermen from Thailand.

The pirates disguised the cargo ship and sailed it to the port of
Shantou in south China's Guangdong province, where they sold the alkali.

When the ship docked at Fangchenggang in Guangxi for repairs on 8 June,
local police spotted the hijacked ship and arrested the pirates.