11 arrested on hijacked Malaysian ship

Updated 24 November 2012
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11 arrested on hijacked Malaysian ship

KUALA LUMPUR: Vietnamese authorities have arrested 11 suspected pirates aboard a chemical tanker after the first hijacking of a vessel en route to Malaysia’s Borneo island in years, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said yesterday.
Pirate attacks off Malaysia have dropped in recent years, following stepped-up patrols and co-operation with neighboring countries to secure the region’s waterways.
“IMB hopes that the authorities will take action and investigate the incident to contain and stop this type of menace,” said Noel Choong, head of the bureau’s Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting center.
The Malaysian-owned vessel lost communication on Saturday after leaving the country’s southern Johor state, Choong said.
The vessel was likely attacked in the South China Sea, he said, adding that the IMB, which sent out an alert to help locate the tanker, was still waiting for further details.
Vietnamese marine authorities managed to intercept the tanker on Thursday, arresting 11 suspects. The pirates had changed the ship’s name and were flying a Honduran flag.
The tanker’s nine crew members were released at sea on Wednesday by the pirates, said Choong, adding the crew were all safe after being rescued by local fishermen.
Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre News reported the sailors, five from Myanmar and four from Indonesia, had been forced onto a life raft.


Vietnamese authorities could not immediately comment on the case when contacted, while the Malaysian owner of the vessel, named Zafirah, could not be reached.
The maritime bureau praised Vietnamese and Malaysian authorities for their efforts.
“Ships sailing in the region should maintain anti-piracy watches especially at night in Asian waters,” Choong said.
In October, four Indonesian suspected pirates were arrested for trying to hijack a tugboat and barge off Malaysia’s Sarawak state. Choong said authorities were still investigating that case.
The United Nations this week called for stronger prosecutions of pirates and more action by shipping companies to deter bandits at sea.
The body’s deputy secretary general said while attacks this year had been reduced off the coast of Somalia, a piracy hot spot, numbers could take off again unless countries take action.
According to International Maritime Organization (IMO) figures, there were 291 attacks against ships in the first 10 months of the year and 293 crew still being held hostage.
East Africa, West Africa and Asia-Pacific are the worst hit zones.


Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

Updated 25 April 2018
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Indian court finds spiritual guru guilty of raping devotee

NEW DELHI: An Indian court on Wednesday found a high-profile spiritual guru Asaram Bapu guilty of raping a teenage female devotee in 2013 and he faces a maximum of life in prison.
The verdict against 77-year-old Bapu was read out inside a prison in the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan state because of fears that his followers may resort to violence.
The case is the latest in a series of high-profile rape cases in India that have fueled public protests and raised questions about how police handle the cases and treat the victims.
In August last year, another popular and flamboyant Indian spiritual guru, Dr. Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of raping two female followers.
Judge Madhusudhan Sharma will announce the prison term for Bapu later after hearing arguments from the prosecution and Bapu’s attorneys.
Bapu has denied the rape and can appeal his conviction in a higher court.
The girl in her complaint to the police in 2013 accused Bapu of raping her when she visited his retreat in Jodhpur with her mother. The girl’s family said they had been followers of Bapu for more than a decade.
Bapu has been in prison since his arrest in the case in 2013.
On Wednesday, security was tight around the prison complex and in states where the self-styled guru has a considerable following.
Religious sects also wield considerable political clout in India with several politicians as followers. Asaram is also on trial along with his son Narayan Sai in a separate rape case where two sisters have accused the two men of sexual assault.