Malaysian police take custody of 7 Somali pirates

January 31, 2011 09:35


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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Police in Malaysia took custody Monday of seven Somali pirates who were captured in the Gulf of Aden and brought to the Southeast Asian country to face a possible trial for hijacking a Malaysian-operated chemical tanker.

Malaysia and South Korea could become Asia's first countries to charge Somalis for piracy-related offenses after detaining a total of 12 suspects in separate raids on two hijacked ships recently. Five Somalis captured in the Arabian Sea were brought Sunday to South Korea, where they could be sentenced to life imprisonment.

The seven other Somalis arrived under tight security at Malaysia's key western harbor Monday aboard the MT Bunga Laurel, which they attacked Jan. 20 in the Gulf of Aden. Malaysian naval commandos stormed the ship and rescued 23 Filipino crew members less than two hours after the pirates boarded it.

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