News / Asia

International Authorities Investigate Maritime Shooting Video

Authorities in several countries are examining a graphic video posted online that shows five men floating amid bits of a small upturned boat and being shot by laughing crew members of a larger vessel.   
 
In the video, gunshots ring out as helpless men in the water desperately try to cling to remnants of their small boat.  
 
The grainy video uploaded to the YouTube website this week, is titled "Fishing vessel fijian crew gettin shot, out side fiji waters" (sic).
 
But authorities in the Pacific islands nation of Fiji, including its navy, say the men seen being struck by gunfire and profusely bleeding in the water are not Fijians.
 
Interpol investigating

Interpol tells VOA News that its general secretariat headquarters in France “is working with several member countries to help determine the veracity of the video content, including its likely date, location and the identities of those involved.”
 
Specialists in several countries, who have examined the video, speculate the distressed men in the water, who presumably were all killed, were likely from the east African coast or the Arabian Gulf area.
 
David Hammond, founder of the non-governmental organization Human Rights at Sea and a veteran maritime lawyer, has reviewed the video.  He calls what he witnessed “an entirely unlawful summary execution of five men.”   
 
“There is no doubt in my mind that the footage is real," said Hammond. "The context and the time, as in when the footage was taken, actually is secondary to the issue that there have been criminal acts of homicide that have taken place from a registered commercial fishing vessel in international waters.”
 
Perpetrator origins

On the 10-minute video three larger vessels are seen circling the smaller.
 
One can be identified: the Seychelles-flagged Taiwan-owned Chun 1 No. 217.   Maritime databases list that vessel as a 725-ton fishing boat with a home port of Kaohsiung and managed by the Tching Ye Fishery in the same city.  

The vessel is known to operate in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans.  But its current whereabouts are unknown.   
 
In the video, men onboard one of the vessels can be heard laughing.  They are seen taking close-up photos on their mobile phones of the bodies floating face down in the water.
 
There are snippets of conversations in Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Thai and other languages.   
 
A man, speaking in Mandarin, says, “He is floating over.”  A voice in Cantonese replies “hurry up.”
 
While there has been speculation that the men in the water may have been pirates following a failed hijacking, authorities with whom VOA News has spoken say based on what is seen on the video it is more likely they were fishermen from an un-flagged small boat.   
 
Possible charges

Retired British Royal Marines front-line officer Hammond says although the identity of who fired the shots and the others on the deck may never be known, the master of the vessel faces liability.  
 
“The master of the vessel would be a ticketed captain or should be a ticketed captain who is registered with the ship owner," said Hammond. "So his identity should be much easier to find out.”
 
Media reports quoting Fijian police sources say a university student found the video on a mobile phone left by an Asian fishing boat crewman in a taxi in Fiji’s capital city, Suva.
 
Interpol says it will have no further comment “until the facts have been established and the video content has been verified.” 


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More