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Fishermen's fears linger after ordeal (4)

By An Baijie, and Hu Yongqi (China Daily)

14:20, July 28, 2012

To frighten the sailors, a pirate fired in the direction of the captain.

The pirates imprisoned the fishermen in a cabin afterward, and the captain was told that they would release the crew after they hijacked other ships. But the pirates did not keep their promise.

"Once I told my captain that if the pirates decided to kill some of us, please let me and other older people die first. The unmarried men should survive to enjoy life," he said.

The hostages used to think of escape after they were taken to Somalia and imprisoned in October. But 80 pirates blocked the only path out.

Forced to lie

Zhang and his fellows were forced to make calls to their family to ask for ransom. Pirates usually beat them harder while they made calls to get the sympathy of their families.

Sometimes the prisoners were forced to lie about their situation to their families. Zhang once lied to his mother that his friends' legs had been cut off.

"The pirates would beat us if we refused to tell lies, and we had to put pressure on our families to push them to rescue us as soon as possible," Zhang said.

Zhang Qian, Zhang's 56-year-old mother, passed out on Jan 27 after hearing that her son's nails were pulled out by the pirates. In fact, her son was unharmed.

To help her son out, Zhang Qian and his father went to Beijing many times looking for help from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Commerce.

Their nightmare ended on July 17, when the crew was released.

"On July 17, the pirates took us to a beach and forced us to leave. I thought that they were going to execute us," he said. "We walked forward for a while, and when I turned my head, I saw that the pirates were gone."

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