Malaysian marine police have arrested seven suspected Indonesian pirates believed to be active in the southern region near Singapore, the official news agency Bernama reported Friday.six long knives, a pair of binoculars, a satellite phone, seven ski masks, several rolls of raffia strings and money in various foreign denominations? Sound like ordinary fishermen's supplies to you?
Marine police chief Abdul Rahman Ahmad said the seven, aged between 37 and 50, were caught Thursday night after a high-speed chase by the marine intelligence unit while patrolling in waters off the southeast of Johor state, which borders Singapore.
They were believed to be looking for a ship to rob, he said.
"The group has been active in the Johor waters and is believed to be involved in four robbery cases last year and two early this year," Abdul Rahman was quoted saying.
The latest was on April 8 where the Singapore-registered tanker Kyosei Maru was attacked by some 10 pirates armed with long knives and wearing ski masks. They tied up the crew and fled after robbing them of cash and valuables worth an estimated 30,000 ringgit ($7,895).
In Thursday's case, a police search of the pirates' boat turned up six long knives, a pair of binoculars, a satellite phone, seven ski masks, several rolls of raffia strings and money in various foreign denominations.
"We believe this group was involved in all the robberies based on the reports we received such as the size of the group, the weapons used and the raffia string that was used to tie up the victims," Abdul Rahman said.
Update: More information on the capture here. Pirates had a a boat, described as
The suspected vessel, 20ft long by 4ft wide, was equipped with a 200HP engine and three 30-litre fuel tanks.
A handout picture released by the Malaysian marine police on April 23, 2005 shows suspected pirates arrested after a high-speed chase off the Malaysian state of Johor, bordering Singapore, in this picture taken on April 21. Malaysian police detained seven Indonesian men suspected of robbing several ships, including a Japanese oil tanker, near the Singapore strait, a newspaper said on Saturday. Picture taken April 21, 2005Here's the gang: