Policemen recovered an M-16 armalite rifle with serial number RP103833, a KG9 9mm machine pistol with serial number 961342, four magazines of M-16 containing ammunition, DYME identification cards and cellular phones from the arrested suspects, Supt. Norberto Boston, Cadiz police chief, said.The "pirates" allege they were innocently engaged in anti-illegal fishing patrol and merely wanted to borrow some fuel for their boat. Connected article on "illegal" fishing in the area here.
Boston said the 30 crew members of the fishing boat who were alerted of piracy activities of armed men in the high seas of Iloilo, Masbate, Cebu, and Negros Occidental, pounced on the armed suspects and managed to disarm them, while boarding their fishing vessel.
Jose Ariel Resquite, trainee Sonar operator of F/B Cadiz City, told Aksyon Radyo that a dozen men boarded their boat around 2 a.m. yesterday, while they were navigating the waters near Isla Higantes off the coast of Carles town in Iloilo province.
"The crew was already prepared for them," Roy Vijandre, president of the Negros Occidental Commercial Fishing Boat operators.
Vijandre recounted that Be told him during an early morning call that the alleged pirates first boarded the lifeboat accompanying F/B Cadiz City and got fuel from it. The pumpboat then made its way to the purseiner but the captain of F/B Laura, Sergio Escala, of Bantayan, Cebu, had already been alerted by the operator of the lifeboat.
A firefight nearly ensued because some of the crewmembers led by an ex-Army man were also armed.
A scuffle took place but the 30 crewmembers overpowered the alleged pirates. Seven of them, however, managed to escape and even cut loose the pumpboat that was already tied to the F/B Cadiz City.
One for the courts to sort through.
UPDATE: 5/25/06 More charges being brought by more victims of these pirates, as indicated here.
UPDATE: 5/26/06 A row breaks out about the "pirates" and illegal fishing. Reported here. Some political fun.