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Rough seas? Contemporary piracy in South East Asia.

The shipping industry regards several parts of the world as piracy `risk areas'. Within Asia, these include the Singapore Strait, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Philippine waters, and to a lesser extent the whole of the South China Sea.(1) From 1990 to 1992, the most risky' of these areas was the Riau Archipelago, that is, the waters around Singapore and the Indonesian islands to its south. The frequency of Pirate attacks appeared to increase suddenly at the beginning of 1990 and to continue until mid - 1992, when they just as suddenly ceased.

These observations lead to one general and one specific question. The general question is: why are there pirates in the Riau Archipelago, but not (or not any longer) in Penzance? The more specific question is: why was there a sudden wave of attacks? In answer to both questions I shall offer two propositions. The first is that contemporary piracy occurs where three factors are in place; economic dislocation brought about by rapid development, recognition of Piracy as an available cultural or subcultural possibility, and opportunity. The second is that some proportion of piracy in Asian waters appears to be condoned or conducted by state agencies. Piracy, like smuggling and corruption, may be a source of unofficial income for military or law enforcement personnel or indeed their agencies. It may flourish as long as provincial or local units can shield their staff from investigation and sanctions, but other things being equal, will become less common when the central authorities threaten to crack down.

The next section provides background information and sets the scene for a more theoretical discussion. While data is drawn from a variety of sources, much of the empirical material is drawn from one area, the Riau Archipelago of Indonesia.(2)

Background and Context

In order to furnish a theoretical account of piracy, three background issues need to be clarified. One is the definition clear specification of what a theoretical account of piracy; a second is the organizational complexity of piracy reporting and the consequent problems in obtaining data- and the third is a clear specification of what a theoretical account of piracy ought to be able to explain.

First, definitions of piracy come from several sources. The United Nations Convention on the High Seas (1958) and Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) define it as an attack mounted for private ends on a ship, involving violence, illegal detention of persons or property, or the theft or destruction of goods.(3) However, these Conventions apply only to the high seas, that is, waters outside the territorial limits of any nation. Inside those territorial limits - which in some cases extend many hundred of miles from shore(4) - national laws either create offences relating to piracy or subsume it within offence categories such as murder, assault, robbery, or theft. In addition, a practical rather than legal definition of piracy has been adopted, by the International Maritime Bureau, an offshoot of the International Chamber of Commerce which operates mainly within a commercial frame of reference. The IMB definition refers simply to `any act of boarding any vessel with the intent to commit theft or other crime and with the capability to use force in furtherance of the act' International Maritime Bureau 1992:2). It is thus wider than the UN definition, and ignores questions of jurisdiction.

The majority of acts discussed in this paper could be simply described as `armed robbery at sea', and to avoid unnecessary arguments about Indonesian and other national laws, the IMB definition has been adopted. However it is worth noting that both the UN and IMB definitions subsume acts which might not ordinarily be considered as piracy. In principle, any theoretical approach to piracy would have to be capable of dealing not just with theft and robbery from ships either at sea or at anchor, whether force is used or not,(5) but also the kidnapping of persons aboard boats and ships,(6) the taking of whole ships and cargoes, perhaps by organized crime syndicates,(7) and the seizure of ships and passengers as hostages in terrorist operations such as the Achille Lauro incident in 1985.(8)

Secondly, it is important to bear in mind that the available information on piracy is by no means comprehensive. There are few incentives and many problems in reporting to the relevant authorities, even assuming that the vessel is within national waters. For example, despite the sophistication of current ship-to-shore communications, those I interviewed in the shipping industry persistently referred to difficulties in reporting piracy in the Riau area to the Indonesian authorities. Although the attacks were inside Indonesian waters, many ships reported them to Singapore, whose port authorities have advanced communications, even though the Singaporean authorities could not intervene. Moreover, companies may not report piracy because of the risk (and cost) of the ship being detained while the crew is interviewed, and suspicions in some cases that the law enforcement agencies themselves are involved in the piracy.

Masters do, none the less, report Attacks to their shipping agents or shipowners, since they must account for injuries, damage, or missing goods. Whether, and how quickly, such reports are forwarded to the IMB is another matter. The IMB is the de facto world reporting centre for piracy, whether in national or international waters; but it only began to seek comprehensive (and retrospective) statistics in the early 1990s when piracy became a major issue in the shipping industry. Those I interviewed suggested that there was both delay and under-reporting of incidents to the IMB. Shipping lines may not make reports for reasons of commercial confidentiality; some national shipping associations report periodically rather than on a case-by-case basis, or fail to pass on key information such as the ship's name; search and rescue centres and other communications hubs may not pass on information- law enforcement agencies do not routinely provide details of cases reported to them. Yet on the other hand, since the IMB reporting system is `victim-driven' and cannot independently investigate or substantiate reports, a large proportion of the reports it receives are unconfirmed. Scrutiny of these reports sometimes leads to the conclusion that there is no more than circumstantial evidence of piratical intent. Finally, attacks against local fishing vessels and the like, even if reported to the police, are almost never communicated to the IMB, and may anyway be categorized as thefts, robberies, etc. rather than piracy.

Thirdly, a `theory of piracy' should explain the distribution of piracy over time and space, and identify why it takes particular forms at those times and places. An explanation of contemporary piracy must thus explain why, apart from the drug-trafficking-related attacks in the Caribbean, it now occurs almost exclusively in the waters of developing countries, close to shore, and with the targets most often being cash, crews' valuables, and parts of the cargo rather than the whole cargo and the vessel itself. In addition, a theory must explain the apparent historical linkage between piracy and official corruption. The history of piracy suggests that it can only flourish when and where the authorities allow it, either in the furtherance of national interests or because local or provincial officials are corrupt (Gosse 1946; Mitchell 1976). The main exceptions to this statement were those where the pirates became warlords in control of their own states, as was the case in North Africa in the 1500s, and Malaysia and China until the last century. Piracy in European and North Atlantic waters was virtually extinguished in the early nineteenth century with the advent of the modern nation-state, and attempts to end practices which came to be regarded as official corruption.

The following sections deal in turn with economic, cultural, and corruption-related aspects of piracy.

Developing Economies and Piracy

Despite the variety of acts encompassed by definitions of piracy, it is reasonable to suggest that most piracy is simply robbery or banditry made distinctive only by the fact that it occurs on water. On this view, Hobsbawm's (1972) observations on banditry would be an appropriate starting-point for a discussion. There must be persons for whom it would be economically attractive and who have the necessary skills; there must be an adequate number of `targets'; and the geography and social structure of the area must be capable of supporting it. Hobsbawm envisaged banditry as occurring in economically marginal and rural areas, often at times of depression or following wars (when returning soldiers may be unable to find work after discharge from the military). It occurred where travellers and merchants were forced to use particular roads, for example through mountain passes, forests, or other geographical obstacles. The local population either tolerated bandits because or their fierce reputation or supported them because of the wealth they were able to bring, to the area. And law enforcement agencies found the bandit areas difficult to penetrate, because of the terrain and because information on their movements was relayed to the bandits.

There are, both historically and currently, a number of parallels with piracy. The numbers of pirates in the western world tended to increase after wars, when mercantile fleets were not large enough to absorb the sailors being discharged from navies (Gosse 1946). Piracy followed the trading patterns set by Spain, Britain, and the other colonial powers, and was concentrated around the Caribbean, the Atlantic seaboard of America, the English Channel, and later the coast of West Africa. The pirates were able to operate more or less freely, at least until the early nineteenth century, for two main reasons. First, they enjoyed widespread local support- in America in the early 1700s, for example, pirates sold large volumes of goods at prices undercutting merchants who complied with Britain's Navigation Act, which required goods from the East to America to be shipped via Britain (Gosse 1946: 176). Secondly, governors of colonial territories not only lacked the military force to suppress piracy, but in some cases actively supported it. Indeed, local magistrates and other officials in England itself were frequently involved in both piracy and wrecking from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries (Gosse 1946: 106-1 1; Rule 1977).

Updating this scenario leads to the following propositions. First, developing economies frequently suffer high crime rates, partly because development leads to structural changes in the economy and the dislocation of segments of the working population, partly because the economy often cannot support the level of in-migration to the developing areas that occur, and partly because prices often rise much faster than wages in such areas, leading to high levels of poverty in some segments of the population. Moreover, much of the rise in crime is specifically a rise in violent crime. While Shelley's (I 98 1) account of such processes ignores important questions about the manner of modernization, her core argument is compelling. She argues that the initial transition into an urbanized and industrialized society engenders high levels of property crimes and crimes against the person in cities, and high levels of violent crime in rural areas. Subsequently there is an urban problem of 'the arrival of rural migrants whose traditional patterns of rural violence have accompanied them and whose usual violent response to social tensions has been aggravated by their difficult adjustment to unfamiliar circumstances' (1981: 138). Thus

Only as urbanization progresses, as migration into urban centers subsides, and as the newly arrived urban inhabitants adjust to city life, does the total crime rate decline. Crimes of violence cede their once preeminent place to offenses against property. (1981: 139)

Secondly, the question of opportunity is straightforward. Modern shipping patterns flow through a number of `choke points', narrow channels often close to shore and used by large numbers of vessels. The Strait of Malacca-Singapore Strait area is one such choke point, heavily used because it offers the fastest route from Europe and the Middle East to Asia and especially Japan. The Phillip Channel, at the centre of this area, forms part of the main eastbound shipping lane through the Strait. It is often less than 5 km wide, and at its narrowest is 1. 3 km wide. No part of it 's further than 20 km from shore and most parts are within 5-10 km of nearby islands. There are shoals and reefs, and shipping must slow to about 10 knots to navigate it safely. In addition to vessels transiting this area, much shipping is heading to or from Singapore, which is now one of the three largest ports world-wide (the others being Hong Kong and Rotterdam). Industry estimates vary widely they are extrapolated from different data sets - but indicate that between 3,000 and 6,000 vessels navigate these shipping lanes every month.(9)

Thirdly, while this and other choke points may be the marine equivalent of Hobsbawm's typical bandit terrain, it is equally likely that both large ports and areas with a coastal fishing industry or large amounts of coastal traffic would provide sufficient movement to camouflage pirates, and a large number of hiding-places.

Not every quickly developing economy is thus likely to spawn piracy, but developing economies in geographical areas where shipping can be targeted may well do so. However, at least two other factors - cultural acceptance of piracy and official corruption - must also be considered.

Cultural Acceptance of Piracy

In general, we can argue that local populations would tolerate pirates for at least three reasons. Two of these - intimidation of the populace, and economic incentives - were mentioned above. But a third and deeper factor must also be considered, namely that raiding ships at sea is culturally `thinkable'.

In Elizabethan England the seas were heavily utilized for transport since roads were so poor, while in many communities raiding was a common activity, and supported if not actively organized by local nobility and officials. Yet a culture of piracy and wrecking had died, perhaps gradually, by the middle of the nineteenth century. Piracy became an increasingly risky venture as the state became able to control both the sealanes and its own officials, while the improvement of roads decisively changed the transport patterns on which piracy depended; wrecking disappeared when effective policing was introduced. While the coasts of England provide a hunting-ground for many amateur beachcombers, the idea of actively robbing ships under way is virtually unthinkable now. Yet it is not so in other parts of the world. Around Malaysia and Indonesia, for example, there is a long history of raiding, robbing, smuggling, and extortion based around fishing communities in the area. Wright (1976: 26) points out that the Bugis, originally a people from Sulawesi,

practised piracy on a large scale. They had been inter-island traders but, from about the 1670s onward, their commerce was so disrupted by the Dutch attempts to restrict and monopolize the spice trade that most of the seafaring Bugis took to marauding.

This ultimately ensured their economic and political dominance over the whole region, and in the eighteenth century a Bugis state was centred on the Riau islands and part of peninsula Malaysia.

Moreover, clandestine seafaring activities appear to have been common until very recent times. One of, my sources in the shipping industry indicated that in his experience, and up to the 1950s if not later, inter-village raids were common when fishing catches were poor. One Malaysian military source stated that there were still persistent reports of attacks on local fishing craft, and protection rackets operating against fishing fleets around the Malaysian coast. He also observed that there had `always been' some smuggling between Malaysia and Indonesia, with local cigarettes, textiles, and drugs being taken into Malaysia in exchange for western cigarettes and electrical goods.

Piracy and Official Corruption

The model outlined above envisages that banditry and piracy are both products of economic development and dislocation; a lack of social mechanisms for integrating young men, in particular, into economic productive processes; cultural or subcultural tolerance of violence for economic ends; and opportunity. Yet if the history of piracy tells us anything, it is that if pirates are to operate for long, they must buy off local officials or have their active support. Pirates operating in coastal waters, using small motor boats, and principally taking the crew's personal possessions and cash, may be better able to operate without buying such protection. Yet even they must have access to markets where goods can be sold and stolen cash, often in foreign currencies, spent or exchanged. They can, in short, be defeated not only at sea, but by land-based policing which seeks to deny them the economic benefits of piracy. Thus anything more systematic than small-scale, `subsistence-level' piracy tends to imply the presence of official corruption.

To talk of official `corruption', however, implies a particular world view which may not have been appropriate prior to the development of the modern nation-state, and indeed may still not be appropriate in many parts of the developing world. Corruption implies that officials use or refrain from using their official powers in return for payment; and it tends to presuppose that the officials are in the full-time employment of a government on whose behalf they exercise those powers. In many developing countries these presuppositions cannot be sustained.

For example in Indonesia, since 1957, there has been a thoroughgoing interpenetration of political, business, and military elites. On the one hand the military is the leading supporter of the Golkar political party, which came to power through a military coup and has been in power ever since. On the other, close alliances have been forged between the military and business elites. Such links provided a means of creating additional funds for the military, via joint ventures' running the gamut of legal and illegal enterprises. Crouch (1978: 38) states that from the mid-1950s on,

Not only did the army feel deprived of new equipment, weapons, and other facilities, but both ordinary soldiers and officers found themselves unable to live in a style to which they felt entitled. Some military commanders, especially in the Outer Islands, felt compelled to resort to unorthodox sources of supply- in order to maintain the functioning of their units and the loyalty of their troops. In the export-producing regions, such as North Sumatra and North Sulawesi, the military could raise funds quite easily by sponsoring semiofficial smuggling, while in other areas regional commanders made irregular arrangements with local businesses, usually ones owned by Chinese. These economic activities of military men, although arising originally out of necessity, opened up opportunities for individuals to benefit personally.

He later points out (at 291-2) that the armed forces' smuggling resulted in the state being deprived of substantial revenues from import export duties, and efforts were made from 1967 onwards to suppress it. None the less, an analysis of military budgets and expenditure in 1980 suggested that the former covered only 40-50 per cent of the latter, underlining the continuing importance to the military of off-budget incomes from `joint ventures' with businesses (Far Eastern Economic Review 1980). The close linkages between politics, the military, and business elites can also be seen at work in Crouch's (1978: 74-5 ff.) observation that during the 1964 6 confrontation with Malaysia, prior to the coup which toppled President Sukarno, the army sought to negate his potentially disruptive strategies by establishing its own contacts in Malaysia. Communication between the Indonesian and Malaysian intelligence communities was, Crouch states, operated under the cover of a rubber-smuggling operation, though he also notes that some of his sources claimed the reverse, namely that the smuggling was authorized on the basis that it was 'really' an intelligence operation.

In short, provincial officials in some developing countries are virtual warlords. They command substantial military force, dominate the civilian administration, and have extensive contacts within the business elites. They possess a great deal of power, including the ability to conduct or allow illegal activities, and to shield such activities from central government. Such `official' crime may be given added impetus in times and places where rapid economic development tends to lead to rising economic expectations, while the armed forces have relatively low personal salaries and agency budgets. In Indonesia, as a case in point, the military relies on the business community and `joint ventures' for a large proportion of its funding, and to further its political influence; it offers to the business community, in return, its political influence and military protection - which has clearly included protection for extra-legal activities.(10)

Evidence of `corruption', whatever cast one might care to put on it, is clearly not evidence of complicity in or protection of piracy. None the less, the remarks above do show how such complicity could have arisen and the rationality for it.

Riau Piracy

Having set out some theoretical considerations, let us now consider one recent `wave' of piracy. From 1981 to 1988, the area from the Strait of Malacca through to the Singapore Strait and the southern part of the South China Sea (Fig. 1) had no more than about a dozen attacks per year, with the exception of 1982-3. From the beginning of 1990 to mid-1992, there were at least 200 pirate attacks in this area - roughly a tenfold increase in the rate of Piracy.(11) The most concentrated cluster of attacks occurred in the Phillip Channel, though attacks also took place further north in the Strait of Malacca, and to the east, around the whole of the Riau Archipelago with its two main islands of Batam and Bintan (Fig. 2).

Data of some description - that is, more than the name of the ship and the date and place of the attack - are available for 154 attacks which took place in 1991-2. The data come from a number of overlapping sources, including IMB reports International Maritime Bureau 1992, 1993), shipping agents, managers and shipowners, summary reports compiled by national shipowners' associations, news reports in Singaporean, Malaysian, and Hong Kong newspapers, and industry journals such as the Bimco Bulletin and Lloyds List.(12) In general, the closer it was possible to get to the original report faxed or telexed from the ship, the more information was available. Even so, there is a substantial amount of missing data. Even scrutiny of original telex or fax reports sent from ships immediately after an incident does not always yield a full and clear description of events.(13) Thus for 73 of the 154 cases there is no indication of how many persons took part in the attack, and in some cases the location of the attack is not clear. None the less, the main points that emerge from the data set are as follows.

The majority of attacks took place at the traffic `choke point' around the Phillip Channel, and the waters immediately surrounding the islands of Batam and Bintan. The prevalence of reported attacks fluctuated throughout the period, with no more than ten attacks in any months except July and September-November 1991, and January and April May 1992. The `peak' was in September and October 1991 (16 and 21 attacks respectively), and after two attacks in each of June and July 1992, the `wave' was effectively over. These numbers, when considered against the figures for shipping movements mentioned earlier, indicate that even though the area was considered high-risk for piracy, the chances of a vessel being attacked on any one voyage were low. However, ships making short and frequent trips through the area would run a higher risk, and at least five vessels were attacked twice during 1991.

Where the time of the attack was recorded, it showed that in all but a handful of cases the attack took place during hours of darkness. The pirates used small boats - either of local design or rigid inflatables, and equipped with outboard engines - to approach a ship from the stern. A line with a grappling hook would be thrown up and the pirates would climb on to the target ship. The other main method involved two small boats holding a line between them; the bows of the target ship would snag the line; as it moved forward, the small boats were drawn alongside and lines sent up onto the deck. In a small number of cases, the pirates threw petrol bombs onto the deck, forcing the crew to deal with the fire hazard rather than the boarders. Climbing onto large vessels using grappling hooks in these waters is relatively easy, since the Phillip Channel is usually calm and the `freeboard', that is the distance from the water to the deck, is often only a matter of three or four metres. Perhaps ironically, large fully-loaded tankers make easier targets than small cargo vessels since they ride low in the water.

Information on the number of pirates is available for only half (52 per cent) of the incidents. In the majority of these cases, between four and six pirates boarded the ship, though it is possible that a further one or two remained in the pirate's small boat. Many reports simply state that the pirates were `armed' without further elaboration; more detailed information is available in only 46 incidents. The weapons most commonly mentioned were knives or parangs (machete-like long knives), with a few reports of bayonets, sharpened screwdrivers, or crowbars. Firearms were carried by at least one of the gang in only 11 of the 46 incidents. Despite repeated comments concerning the aggressive behaviour of the pirates, the level of injuries was small. Only eight of the 154 incidents resulted in physical injury, with 12 persons in total being injured - though one of those 12 was a chief officer who was fatally shot. This low level of injury may be explained by a lack of resistance on the part of crews. It tallies with findings on armed robbery, which generally concur that since robbers bring to bear a substantial and immediate threat of force in order to make victims co-operate, only a small proportion of armed robbery victims - usually those who offer resistance are seriously injured or killed (Cook 1985, 1987; Ziegenhagen and Brosnan 1985).(14) Of a total crew of about 15-20 persons on the average large ship, only five or six are likely to be awake and on duty at any one time. Ships do not normally carry weapons; and although crews are required to take security precautions, company instructions and the recommendations of international bodies, while containing potentially significant differences, all state that once pirates are on board the crew should co-operate in order to minimize the risk of injury.(15)

Information as to what was taken is available in 117 incidents. Of these, 21, mainly attempts rather than completed acts of piracy, resulted in no cash loss. The loss from the remaining raids typically comprised cash and personal items, for example jewellery and watches, taken from the crew; the contents of the ship's safe, or the safe itself; and easily movable equipment, such as radio sets, binoculars, and video recorders. It is difficult to quantify these losses, since many reports speak of `cash' or the `safe contents' being taken without further elaboration. Of the 62 attacks where cash was taken and the money amount reported, the majority resulted in gains of between US$100 and US$5,000 (see Table 1). This presumably reflects the opportunistic nature of piracy. Just as a robber cannot easily distinguish individuals with large amounts of cash on them from those carrying little or no cash, pirates cannot easily distinguish between ships with large or small amounts of money on board. However, in a small number of cases they `struck lucky', taking very substantial cash sums from the vessels.

TABLE 1 Amounts of Cash Taken in
     Pirate Attacks, 1991-2

Cash taken (US$)      No. of cases

nil                    21
1-99                    5
100-999                10
1,000-4,999            25

5,000 9,999             9
10,000 14,999           8
15,000-19,999           2
20,000-                 3

Subtotal               83

Cash taken(a)          20
Ship's safe(b)         14

Subtotal               34

No data                37

Total                 154

(a) Amount not specified.
(b) Contents unspecified.
Source: data obtained from International Maritime
Bureau (1992, 1993); internal documents
of three national shipping associations in the

These figures imply that in at least 30 per cent of cases, the pirates made off with amounts of more than US$1,000 - a not inconsiderable sum, even if split several ways, against the background of a 1991 per capita annual income of US$638 for Indonesia (Far Eastern Economic Review 1992a).

The majority of attacks lasted no more than about 15-20 minutes, though in a few cases it appears that the pirates were on board for as long as two hours. All but a handful of incidents can be characterized as involving a threat of force coupled with an intention simply to take readily available cash and goods from the master's cabin and the crew. While reports have surfaced from other areas, such as the Philippines, of whole ships being held for several days while the cargo is unloaded, this seems to have occurred only once in 1991 in the Strait of Malacca/Phillip Channel/Western South China Sea area, and it is significant that in this incident the pirates were described as Thai. We may surmise that this was a pre-planned raid on a ship known to be carrying a particular cargo.

Finally, though my data do not clearly show this, it was widely assumed in the shipping industry that all vessels were potential targets and that the level of pirate activity was higher than figures for reported attacks would indicate. My sources in the shipping industry claimed that pirate speedboats were cruising the area more or less constantly at night, selecting targets which appeared to have taken few anti-piracy precautions - for example with no over-the-side lighting and no evident activity, such as regular scanning around the ship with searchlights. One ship's master, having experienced a pirate attack in May 1991, later used radar to monitor vessels he suspected of piracy. He stated in a company memo that he suspected a vessel of being operated by pirates if it gave a weak radar signal and moved erratically at speeds in excess of 35 knots. His radar range was two and a half miles, though it gave enough resolution to show two vessels as separate plots even if they were touching. Over a three-week period, and plotting incidents occurring only within two and a half miles of his own vessel, he claimed to have observed some 60 vessels which he suspected as pirate boats, and 10 pirate attacks.

Applying the Theory

Clearly this is a part of the world where piracy is `thinkable'. It has a long history and has been conducted intermittently in recent years; inter-village raiding has existed within living memory, and smuggling by sea is more or less routine. But why should there have been such a sudden increase in the numbers of attacks? An explanation for this probably lies in the sudden, almost explosive, economic development of the region.

The Riau islands, though Indonesian, form part of Singapore's hinterland, and discussions of the regional economy frequently refer to a Singapore-Johor-Riau `growth triangle' (see for example Parsonage 1992). Batam has long been an industrial development area and a free trade zone controlled by a special administration reporting directly to the Indonesian Technology Minister. In 1989, new rules were issued concerning foreign investment in Batam. They allowed foreign investors to operate without local partners for the first five years of a new enterprise (Far Eastern Economic Review 1989). Within months, some 700 hectares were being developed for industrial purposes, with applications pending for a further 1,800 hectares (Far Eastern Economic Review 1990a). In August 1990, the special regulations applying to Batam were extended to the whole of Riau province and a Singapore-Riau economic co-operation agreement was signed (Far Eastern Economic Review 1990b). Although the pre-existing industrial base of the islands was oil-related heavy industrial construction, the pattern of investment has been diverse, covering tourism, intensive farming, and high-technology production processes. Much of the development has been by consortia in which members of President Suharto's family, or industrialists close to that family, play prominent roles (Far Eastern Economic Review 1990c, 1991).

Evidence of modernization is not, it must be ceded, evidence of economic dislocation. However there are reports of migrant labour moving into the area, and of prices rising towards Singaporean levels while wages remain low (see for example the Far Eastern Economic Review 1992b). And while hard statistics on crime trends in the Riau area are not available, one of my sources asserted that crime in Batam had increased, largely as a result of migrants engaging in theft when they could not find employment.(16) Despite the lack of specificity in these reports it seems reasonable to conclude that some economic and social dislocation has occurred, affecting both existing residents and migrants. This could have provided a motivation for pirate attacks of the kind described above. Moreover, ships passing close to shore, at low speed, with foreign crews and timetables militating against full reporting of incidents, and with the equivalent of several years' wages in cash in the ship's safe, must have seemed obvious targets.

Despite my earlier comments on the linkage between piracy and corruption, the likelihood and possible extent of armed forces involvement in piracy cannot easily be gauged.

The civil administration in Batam is widely seen as weak. This is partly because many civil powers have been given to the Batam Industrial Development Authority (BIDA), a national investment vehicle under the control of the Ministry of Technology (see for example the Straits Times 1993b). In addition, the island has a large naval base and the Riau Islands generally have been described by some commentators as a `navy fiefdom'. Other sources pointed out that since the Indonesian armed forces have extensive control over the Riau region, it would be difficult for any maritime crime to take place without the knowledge or complicity of at least some sections of the armed forces. Most recently, it has been officially acknowledged that discipline problems' exist within the military, largely as a result of poor pay. The head of the Indonesian armed forces, General Edi Sudradjat, confirmed in a news conference in April 1993 that `there were troops and policemen violating the military rules, abandoning their main duties and seeking extra income and other inappropriate activities'. When pressed, however, he cited troops playing tennis while on duty as an example of such violations (Straits Times 1993a, citing earlier reports in the Jakarta Post).

More specifically, every individual I interviewed in the shipping industry, together with a number of other sources, was privately convinced that there was some Indonesian armed forces involvement in piracy. Yet claims of customs, coastguard, police, or navy involvement were based on, at best, highly circumstantial evidence, principally of four kinds. It was repeatedly claimed in piracy reports that some individuals in pirate parties - typically those assumed to be the `leaders' - spoke good English, had crew cuts, and wore military fatigues and/or boots. None of these features could be considered characteristic of persons in the local fishing communities, or of migrants in the area - though they may have been true of ex-military personnel. There were descriptions in a few cases of pirates using rigid inflatables, vessels which would be highly unusual craft for any civilian or fishing use. Some ships' masters claimed that radar plots indicated small pirate boats being launched from, and returning to, larger vessels which were thought to be - though there was no visual confirmation - armed forces craft. The fact that the majority of attacks occurred in Indonesian rather than Malaysian or Singaporean waters was also held to be evidence of the pirates being aware of, and respecting, international boundaries and it was speculated that this was because of the risk of political fallout should the military be found in other countries' jurisdictions. Finally, it has been argued that the sudden cessation of pirate attacks in mid-1992, after the Indonesian authorities ordered a crackdown, rendered plausible a scenario in which official tolerance of, or complicity in, piracy was suddenly terminated

The allegation that the Indonesian armed forces were involved in piracy is not new. It was made in 1982-3, during a previous spate of attacks which occurred shortly after the Strait of Malacca was divided between Malaysia and Indonesia at the 1981 Law of the Sea Convention, and the Indonesian authorities announced their intention to increase surveillance and patrols in the waters which they now controlled as an Exclusive Economic Zone (Far Eastern Economic Review 1982). And it was made again in Hyslop (1989), though he notes the Indonesian authorities' denials. Certainly there were repeated and strenuous denials of involvement throughout 1991 and 1992, though they did not convince the international shipping community. However, there was a consensus that over time, a larger proportion of attacks were being conducted by nonmilitary personnel. Thus one shipping association advised its members, in July 1992, towards the end of the wave of piracy, that

Although it has been widely assumed in the shipping industry that the chief culprits in South East Asian waters have been the Indonesian militia, there is now growing evidence that they are being both imitated and actively assisted in some instances by local fishermen in native fishing vessels.

The points above offer a range of reasons which together must have made piracy an available, feasible, attractive, and rational choice for at least some young males with seafaring experience, against a background of rising prices, stagnating incomes, and easy opportunities. The question of armed forces involvement, in the absence of hard data, remains unresolved. Moreover, the general picture of off-budget income, military entrepreneurship, and corruption can be seen as complicating the piracy issue rather than rendering piracy `rational'. Since the armed forces obtain a large percentage of their income off-budget from joint ventures with business, and since business opportunities have increased rapidly in the last few years, there seems little apparent logic in the armed forces becoming systematically and organizationally involved in piracy. However, economic development in the Riau area meant that prices rose, and real incomes fell from 1989/90 on. This could have provided an incentive for piracy for civilian and basic-grade military personnel alike, and the rise in piracy took place from early 1990 on. In addition, in as much as the armed forces hold a substantial degree of control over the area, it is possible that they condoned, assisted, and `taxed' nonmilitary pirates just as they would many other illegal enterprises. Ironically enough, central government attempts to crack down on import export corruption and smuggling might also offer a plausible reason for piracy to become an alternative source of revenue either for individual `freelancers' or perhaps for whole units. Finally, if indeed the armed forces were involved, piracy may have been confined to only one or two of the four main armed forces with marine capability.

The End of the Wave

There was substantial international concern about piracy from late 1990. Other governments and shipping organizations attempted to bring pressure to bear on the Indonesian authorities. Shipping firms lodged reports with their own governments. At least one Hong Kong company, following an attack in April 1992, sent a letter of protest to the Indonesian Director General of Sea Communications and subsequently met Indonesian consular officials. UK and Hong Kong shipowners, and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, were in more or less continuous correspondence with the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Transport, and the Royal Navy in the first half of 1992. More public pressure came from three shipping industry conferences on piracy and `safe navigation' in 1991 and 1992, and in 1991 the International Maritime Bureau announced that its Kuala Lumpur representative office would be upgraded, becoming a `piracy reporting centre', and subsequently began publishing summaries of piracy reports on a regular basis. There were also threats to lobby for the inclusion of piracy on the agenda of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) annual ministerial meeting in July 1992. And finally, the International Maritime Organization planned a meeting in Jakarta in August to discuss piracy - by which time the Indonesians were able to report that the problem had ceased to exist.

The Indonesian authorities reacted in several ways. An existing Malaysia - Indonesia agreement on joint naval actions was revitalized, with a new co-ordinating committee and a brief to attack smuggling, drug trafficking, and piracy. A Singapore - Indonesia agreement was concluded in mid-1992 concerning joint patrols and hot pursuit. Though implemented after the main wave of piracy had subsided, a Singaporean patrol subsequently caught one group of pirates and delivered them to the Indonesian authorities. The pattern of attacks never made the question of a Singapore - Malaysian agreement relevant.

In addition, the Indonesian authorities made a number of arrests. One gang (the number of individuals was not specified) was arrested in January 1992. Another gang of six was caught allegedly red-handed in February, near the Phillip Channel. It is not entirely clear whether later reports overlap, but in essence somewhere between 86 and 133 more suspects were arrested in May, June, and July. Some arrests appear to have occurred at sea, with others following land-based intelligence operations, or based on information provided by arrested persons. Simandjutak (1992) indicates that 48 persons arrested in May 1992 were part of a larger group, comprising in total 105 individuals suspected to have engaged in piracy. Few details of the suspects are available. Most were described in press conferences as unemployed. Information on 32 persons arrested in June and July 1992 indicate that all were male, and all but four were aged in their twenties or thirties.(17) It was later reported that due to evidential problems, the suspects were charged with attempted piracy rather than with specific acts. At the time of writing, no further information was available on the outcomes of court cases.

It is possible that almost all the attacks described in this paper could have been conducted by half a dozen or so gangs comprising about 150 to 200 members. However, there was scepticism within shipping circles about the arrests. One shipping, association suggested in a letter to its members that the arrests were intended to `deflect public criticism', a phrase which belies a belief that the arrests were the public aspect of anti-piracy action and that other, non-public, actions may also have been taken. Whatever the truth of the matter, piracy in the Riau area suddenly ceased in the middle of 1992.(18)

This paper has argued that contemporary piracy occurs mainly in areas that are undergoing rapid economic development, and may be seen as one type of violent crime brought about by the economic and social dislocation attending development. An examination. of piracy attacks around the Riau Islands fits this general model in as much as, over the short term at least, the growth of piracy paralleled the sudden, almost explosive, economic growth of the local economy. Other factors such as pre-existing traditions of raiding and smuggling, and the easy availability of targets, clearly make piracy an available, viable, and profitable activity, but are not in themselves sufficient as causative factors.

A second strand of the discussion concerned official involvement in piracy. In the Riau case, there was an almost universal belief within the shipping industry that piracy was instigated or controlled by the Indonesian armed forces. Not surprisingly, this view rests wholly on circumstantial evidence, and if there is any harder information on which it could be based, it is unlikely ever to see the light of day. Nonetheless, we may assert that neither law enforcement or military personnel are immune from general economic trends. Piracy may be a realistic way for marine forces to supplement low incomes in the same way that it would be for civilians, while agencies themselves may become involved in piracy in order to supplement agency resources. In this sense piracy is the `hard end' of a spectrum of crime that would also include smuggling, protection rackets, and so forth; and which is more likely to occur within agencies that are defacto if not de jure rulers of their own `fiefdoms'.


Bourcheir, D. (1990), `Crime, Law and State Authority in Indonesia', in A. Budiman, ed., State and Civil Society in Indonesia, Monash Papers on Southeast Asia 22, Clayton, Victoria: Monash University Centre of Southeast Asian Studies. Chambliss, W.J. (1988), `State-organized Crime', Criminology, 27/2. Cook, P. J. (1985), `Is Robbery Becoming More Violent? An Analysis of Robbery Murder Trends Since 1968', Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 76/2: 480-9. _____ (1987), `Robbery Violence', Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 78/2: 357 76. Crough H. (1978), The Army and Politics in Indonesia. London: Cornell University Press. Deparment of Transport (1993), Piracy and Armed Robbery, Merchant Shipping Notice M.1,517. London: HMSO. Ellen, E., ed. (1989) Piracy at Sea. Paris: International Chamber of Commerce, International Maritime Bureau. Far Eastern Economic Review, Hong Kong (1980), `The Military's Secret Cache', 8 February, 70-2. _____ (1982), `Indonesia's Golden Pond', 6 January, 12 15. _____ (1984) Asia Yearbook 1985. Hong Kong: Far Eastern Economic Review. _____ (1985) Asia Yearbook 1986. Hong Kong: Far Eastern Economic Review. _____ (1989), `Island into the Stream', 30 November, 69-70. _____ (1990a), `Off with the Straitjacket', 8 March, 36-7. _____ (1990b), `Bet on Batam', 6 September, 13. _____ (1990c), `Export Platforms', 18 October, 77-8. _____ (1991), `Empire of the Son', 14 March, 46-9. _____ (1992a), Asia Yearbook 1993. Hong Kong: Far Eastern Economic Review. _____ (1992b), `The Batam Connection', 2 July, 14 15. Gosse, P. (1946), The History of Piracy. New York: Tudor. Hobsbawm, E. J. (1972), Bandits. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Hyslop, I. (1989), `Contemporary Piracy', in E. Ellen, ed., Piracy at Sea. Paris: International Chamber of Commerce, International Maritime Bureau. International Maritime Bureau (1992), Special Report: Piracy. London: International Maritime Bureau. _____ (1993), Piracy Report 1992. Kuala Lumpur: International Maritime Bureau, Regional Piracy Centre. International Shipping Federation (1992), Pirates and Armed Robbers: A Master's Guide. London: International Shipping Federation. Menefee, S. P. (1989), `The United States and Post-War Piracy', in E. Ellen, ed., Piracy at Sea. Paris: International Chamber of Commerce, International Maritime Bureau. Miller, H. (1970), Pirates of the Far East. London: Hale. Mitchell, D. J. (1976), Pirates. London: Thames and Hudson. Mueller, G. O. W., and Adler, F. (1985), Outlaws of the Ocean. New York: Hearst Marine Publishers. Parsonage, J. (1992), `Southeast Asia's "Growth Triangle": A Subregional Response to Global Transformation', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 6/2: 307-17. Rule, J. (1977), `Wrecking and Coastal Plunder', in D. Hay, P. Linebaugh, J. Rule, E. P. Thompson, and C. Winslow, Albion's Fatal Tree: Crime and Society Eighteenth-Century England. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Shelley, L. I. (1981), Crime and Modernization: The Impact of Industrialization and Urbanization on Crime. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Simandjutak, E. (1992), `Piracy in South East Asia', paper delivered to an International Maritime Bureau conference, Kuala Lumpur, July (mimeo). South China Morning Post, Hong Kong (1993a) `NCNA to Face Questions over Missing Ships', 25 March, 3. _____ (1993b), `Mainland Faces Call on Armed Sea Raids', 16 April, 3.

(1993c), `Ship Raid Sparks Call for Action', 20 April, 3. Straits Times, Singapore (1993a). `Sudradjat to Give up Abri Post', 12 April. _____ (1993b), `Put Riau Government Official on Bida', 11 May. Sunday Morning Post, Hong Kong (1993a), `Revealed: The Military Base where Viet Ships are Guarded by Gunboats', 11 April, 1. _____ (1993b), `Held to Ransom by the PSB', 36 May, 1. Thoolen, H., ed. (1987), Indonesia and the Rule of Law: Twenty Years of `New Order' Government. London: Francis Pinter. Unite Nations (1958), Convention on the High Seas, Done at Geneva on 29 April 1958. New York: United Nations Department of Public Information. _____ (1982), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. New York: United Nations Department of Public Information. Vagg, J. (1993), `Context and Linkage: Reflection on Comparative Research and "Internationalism" in Criminology', British Journal of Criminology, 33/4: 541-54. Wright, L. R. (1976) `Piracy in the Southeast Asian Archipelago', Journal of Oriental Studies, 14: 23-34. World Trade (1992), `Skull and Crossbones, Redux', 5/7: 98. Ziegenhagen, E. A., and Brosnan, D. (1985), `Victim Responses to Robbery and Crime Control Policy', Criminology, 23/4:675-95. (1) Commissioner Kennedy's background was predominantly in the private sector and he had no previous legal training or experience in the corrections area. He was a Fellow of the Institute of chartered Accountants and a certified public accountant. His past positions included Chairman of Pan Australian Mining Ltd, Director of Daily Sun and Sunday Sun Newspapers, Chairman of the Queensland Government's Small Business Development Corporation, and Director of Brisbane TV Ltd - BTQ Channel 7. At the time of writing the Report he was Director of Pacific Dunlop Ltd, Chairman of Kennedy's Pty Ltd and Associated Companies and Trusts, and Director of Santos Ltd. (2) Subsequently, Stan Macionis (Macionis and Millican 1992), Deputy-director General of the QCSC, for the first time, publicly indicated that the rationale of the Commission to introduce contract management was based on the benefits of introducing competition, removing restrictive work practices, bringing about cultural and attitudinal change and introducing a more rehabilitative environment in its correction centres. These matters were first discussed in the Kennedy Report in 1988. (3) Moyle (1992c) has argued that officers from the `old guard' show considerable capacity to adapt to new systems of case management provided they are given sufficient training and time to adjust to new sentence management principles. In studies conducted at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre in 1991, several officers from the `old guard' had changed their work practices to a more modern and progressive approach (see especially pp. 61-3). (4) Between 1989 and 1992, the author has made six written requests and several verbal requests for this information. These requests have been made to several officers of the QCSC including the Director General, the Director of Decision Support, the principal policy adviser, and the Director of Audit and Prisoner Welfare including approaches to the operations manager and general manager of Borallon. In 1992, Freedom of Information legislation was introduced in Queensland and the author has made two written applications under this legislation for the above documents. At the time of writing, the Commission had refused access to audit reports, tender documents, and contracts for the operation and management of Borallon and Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centres, invoking all possible exemptions available to deny access under the Freedom of Information Act. It is now possible for the author to appeal directly to the Information Commissioner. For a review of this refusal see Moyle (1994a: 18-19). (5) It is important to stress that both approaches are legitimate and useful. Harding's approach has to some extent forced the Commission to justify the positive inferences he draws about accountability, monitoring, and performance. Moyle's approach tends to yield specific information more slowly as part of the objective is to compel the Commission to provide further information for the public record. This has been a slow and frustrating process. (6) It would appear that the requirement for consent to release the contract derives from section 9 of the Deed of Agreement for the operation and management of Borallon. Section 9 reads, 'Details of the Contract between the Commission and the Contractor shall be kept confidential and shall not be made available to any individual or organisation by the Commission or the Contractor without prior written approval of the other party.' (7) Since this case study, the Commission has privatized a Remand and Reception Centre (Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre), which performs the classification procedure for inmates, thus in effect, influencing the way inmates move through the corrections system. This further blurring of the boundaries between the allocation and administration of punishment, raises special concerns about how far privatization should be allowed to proceed (Moyle 1993b). (8) The audits referred to were conducted by the QCSC, a statutory authority entrusted by the Queensland Government to monitor prisons (see section 'Accountability, Monitoring, and Performance').

It is interesting to note that open questions were used which allowed the interviewee to relate his/her experiences with very little intervention from the interviewer. It should also be noted that interviews were conducted anonymously and confidentially in accordance with the University's Experimentation Ethics Review Committee Guidelines for Research Involving Human Participants. The quotes used were transposed and retained for safe keeping by the researcher. Neither the general manager or the company secretary would know who, apart from themselves, were interviewed, nor were they privy to discussion with interviewees.

Regarding the points about the author's evaluation of the historical complexities, industrial arrangements, and assessment of policy about private prisons in Queensland, I will allow the readers to draw their own conclusions about this matter. (1) The other primary `risk areas' are West Africa and the eastern coast of South America (International Shipping Federation 1992; Hyslop 1989). The former also warns that piracy has occurred off the Horn of Africa, East Africa, Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. The latter, along with Mueller and Adler (1985), considers the Caribbean as a risk area, with attacks on pleasure yachts and merchant ships, mainly aimed at seizing vessels for use in drug trafficking. In 1992-3, allegations of piracy were also made in relation to searches and seizures of ships by Chinese coastguard vessels all around the Chinese coastline. See for example: South China Morning Post (1993a, 1993b, 1993c); Sunday Morning Post (1993a, 1993b); and a UPI report, dated 9 July 1993, detailing a Russian diplomatic protest concerning Chinese coast guard vessels stopping, detaining and shooting at commercial Russian shipping in the East China Sea. (2) Some parts of this paper draw on material previously presented in Vagg (1993). Previous versions of this paper were presented at the British Criminology Conference, Cardiff, UK, in July 1993 and the International Congress of Asian and North African Studies, Hong Kong, in August 1993. Parts of the research were funded by the Committee on Research and Conference Grants, The University of Hong Kong. In the course of researching this paper I interviewed several people in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore who were prepared to give information and personal views, and provide access to organizational documents, on the basis that they remained anonymous. They included sources in the Malaysian military, the shipping industry, and journalists routinely working in the region. (3) The UN Convention of the Law of the Sea 1982, Art. 101, defines piracy as: `(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed (i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft (ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State; (b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft; (c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).' Articles 102-7 and 110-11 deal with a range of other issues related to piracy. All these provisions, however, apply only to the high seas. (4) The internationally-agreed limit for territorial claims is normally 12 miles, but this can be extended significantly by declarations of exclusive economic zones, control over continental shelves, or by using claims on offshore islands as the basis for a 12-mile limit. For example China, using inter alia its (contested) claim on the Spratly Islands, asserts national boundaries which cover most of the South China Sea. (5) The UK Department of Transport (1993) states that piracy in West Africa and South America most often comprises the theft of cargo while at anchor; in Southeast Asia, it is more common for the ship's safe and crew's personal possessions to be targeted. (6) It was a common practice in the Gulf of Thailand, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, for women to be taken from boats fleeing Vietnam and forced into prostitution (Ellen 1989). Historically, pirates in most parts of the world engaged in kidnapping. The crew and passengers of a captured ship could be ransomed or sold into slavery. See Gosse (1946). (7) Southeast Asia has also seen a number of sophisticated attacks in which whole cargoes and ships have been taken. The cargoes - ranging from livestock feed to motorcycles - have been sold and the ships re-registered, and sold or operated clandestinely. Some of these cases appear to be simply one part of a complicated customs and insurance fraud, perhaps involving organized crime. See International Maritime Bureau (1992). (8) See Ellen (1989), International Maritime Bureau (1992), and Menefee (1989). (9) Figures exist for ships entering and leaving the port of Singapore, but there is no traffic control centre for the channel, and no central authority to whom the movement of merchant ships must be reported. Thus there are no concrete figures for the number of ships transiting these waters. (10) Other government agencies, too, have been involved in corruption, probably for much the same reasons. Corruption within the customs service was acknowledged in 1985 when a presidential instruction handed import tax assessments to a Swiss-based private security company and half the customs apparatus was made redundant (Far Eastern Economic Review 1985: 161). (11) In Southeast Asia as a whole, there were fewer than 50 confirmed attacks on shipping per year from 1981 to 1988, and no more than about 70 reports per year in total. These figures are derived from reports of attacks in the areas of the Malacca Strait, Jurong, West Juring, Singapore, Singapore Strait, and the Phillip Channel in Ellen (1989: App. 1); International Maritime Bureau (1992, 1993); internal documents of national shipping associations in the region; and press reports. (12) The only non-published reports included in the data set are those which originate from reports prepared by national shipping associations. Three associations in the region provided data, though two of them did so on the understanding that they would remain anonymous. All three included some reports repeated from a fourth shipping association. Compiling the data set thus entailed extensive cross-checking to avoid duplication of entries. Reports of were included in the data set if they occurred in the Malacca Strait (broadly on a diagonal line with 5.00[degrees]N, 98.00[degrees]E at its north-western corner and 00.50[degree]N, 103.30[degrees]E at its south-eastern); the Phillip Channel/Singapore Strait/Batam area, basically a rectangle with its eastern and western sides drawn at 103.30[degrees]E and 104.40[degrees]E, and northern and southern boundaries at 1.40[degrees]N and 00.50[degree]N; and the immediately contiguous area of the South China Sea, forming a rough triangle between the western end of the Singapore Strait, the Anambas Islands (approximately 5.00[degrees]N, 109.00[degrees]E), and 3.00[degrees]S 109.00[degrees]E. This latter area extends well out to sea, and was included primarily. in order to enable attacks near the Anambas Islands and off the coast of West Kalimantan (an Indonesian province on the island of Borneo to be included. Ten reports cited in the IMB documents occurred outside this geographical boundary, and have been excluded from the data set. (13) Two Hong Kong-based shipping companies and a Singaporean-based shipping agency kindly provided access to their files which included such telex messages concerning their own ships. A few other telex and fax reports have come into the public domain via the press or shipping associations. (14) However, in some circumstances pirates have routinely used lethal force, for example against Vietnamese asylum seekers of the coast of Malaysia and Thailand in the 1970s (Ellen 1989). The killings may have been to ensure that reports of the robberies, apparently conducted by local fishermen, could not be made to the authorities. Yet such brutality simply paralleled the official policies towards the refugees, which were to force them out of national waters regardless of the danger to life. In other regions, wholesale killing in the course of piracy seems to be rare. (15) Carrying arms on board ship is contrary to most national and all international regulations. The minimum level of anti-piracy security, required by most companies, is for all external doors and hatches to be secured at night. Other common measures include intensified watches using searchlights and radar, and rigging fire hoses over the deck rails to spray boarders. Some companies have considered or experimented with infra-red alarms, cameras, electrified deck rails, and coils of barbed wire trailed behind the ship, though all have disadvantages in terms of cost and crew time. More active measures, such as aggressive steering, and directing fire hoses at the pirates, are sometimes used to repel attacks but can raise legal problems of the reasonable use of force, especially if the suspected pirates are killed or seriously injured. (16) This source is a journalist who covers growth triangle issues. In any event, statistics may not be an accurate indicator of real trends. In periods of high public concern about crime, Indonesian law enforcement agencies appear to have engaged in the extrajudicial killing of known or suspected criminals. Some thousands of individuals, mostly known or suspected offenders, were `mysteriously' shot dead in 1982 and 1983, and further shootings took place at least until 1987. These appear to have been carried out by joint police-military units and although there has never been direct confirmation, senior government officials hinted that this was the case (Bourchier 1990; Far Eastern Economic Review 1984: 178-80; Thoolen 1987: 202). (17) Their names, and details of the charges brought against them, were circulated by the Indonesian Consulate in Hong Kong at a press conference. (18) Though some attacks occurred elsewhere in Indonesian waters, most notably that on the Baltimar Zephyr in late 1992, and in which the captain and chief officer were killed.
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Title Annotation:Riau Archipelago, Indonesia
Author:Vagg, Jon
Publication:British Journal of Criminology
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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