S. Korea To Try Somali Pirates

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 South Korea plans to bring the Somali pirates who hijacked a Korean carrier to trial on its own soil.

South Korean navy commandos raided the Samho Jewelry chemical carrier on Jan. 21st, rescuing the entire 21-member crew, while capturing five Somali pirates in the process. Eight pirates were killed during a five-hour battle.

The vessel belonged to the same company that paid a record $9.5 million ransom for a different supertanker that was held by Somali pirates for seven months – in that case, the government chose not to negotiate directly with the pirates. This raid was the first South Korean military operation in international waters; the government was largely praised for its strong defense against Somalian pirates, but according to Reuters, the pirates have retaliated by vowing to kill any Korean hostages they may take in the future.

“I think it’s only natural that we ourselves deal with the pirates who inflicted harm on our people and attacked our forces,” Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said on Tuesday.

According to the Chosun Daily, Article 6 of the South Korean Criminal Law allows foreigners who committed crimes against Koreans on foreign soil to be prosecuted in Korea.

The 21 crew members included eight South Koreans, two Indonesians and 11 sailors from Myanmar.