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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.