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|Tuesday, August 22, 2000, updated at 09:36(GMT+8)|
Fourteen Myanmar Pirates Sentenced in ChinaThe Higher People's Court of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region handed down second court verdicts Monday ranging from imprisonment to death for 14 Myanmarese pirates charged with raiding a Taiwanese cargo ship and setting its 21 crew members adrift in the Andaman Sea.
The head of the pirate gang, Maung Htay Aung, was given the death sentence with a two year reprieve. Kwaw Soe and Kyaw Soe Lin were sentenced to life in prison, and all their personal property was confiscated.
Eleven other pirates were also sentenced to prison terms from three to ten years. They have been handed out various fines and been deported from China.
The pirates hijacked the Marine Master cargo ship in the small hours of March 17, 1999, which was sailing through the Andaman Sea south of Myanmar, heading from China's eastern port of Zhangjiagang to Calcutta, India, when the pirates boarded the ship.
Armed with guns and knives, the pirates hijacked the ship and seized alkali as well as crew members' valuables with a total value of more than 5.8 million yuan (US$698,000).
The crew was forced into a lifeboat, which floated for 10 days before being rescued by fishermen from Thailand. Meanwhile, the pirates disguised the cargo ship and sailed it to the port of Shantou in south China's Guangdong Province, where they sold the cargo of alkali. When the ship arrived at the city of Fangchenggang in Southern Guangxi for repairs on June 8, local police spotted it and arrested the pirates.
On January 31, this year, at a public trial at the Fangchenggang Intermediate People's Court, the first trial sentences were handed down. After the trial, all the pirates appealed their convictions to the Higher People's Court of Guangxi.
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