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

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs