Somali pirates demand millions from Taiwan ship owner's family
Somali pirates who hijacked a Taiwan fishing trawler and 15 crew members in April are demanding 8 million US dollars from the ship owner's family, a newspaper said on Saturday, dpa reported.
According to the United Daily News, the pirates recently phoned the family of the ship's owner Wu Lai-yu, who is among the hostages, to demand ransom.
The ship Jih Chun Tsai 68 was seized by Somali pirates on April 1 when it was operating about 368 nautical miles from the Somali coast. Its crew included one Taiwanese, two Chinese mainlanders and 11 Indonesians.
In the phone call, the pirates raised the ransom to 8 million dollars, and asked Wu to push his family to pay.
Wu said the pirates have beaten him so that that his foot is broken and he limps.
He asked his family to plead with Taiwan's foreign ministry to seek the ship and crew' release. If the rescue came too late, he might be beaten to death, he said.
Wu's family told the United Daily News that they cannot raise the ransom, which is too high.
"In the past, ransom for one fishing boat was 150,000 to 160,000 US dollars. The ransom for Wen Fa 161, which was released in January, was just 1 million US dollars," the paper quoted an unnamed family member as saying.
Wen Fa 161 was hijacked by Somali pirate in April 2009 as it was operating near the Seychelles Islands. Three crew members died from illness during a year-long detainment. The trawler and crew were released on January 21 after the pirates received 1 million dollars in ransom.