Somali Pirates Give Conflicting Evidence

Five Somali pirates captured in the rescue of a Korean freighter were questioned for the second day Monday and continued to give conflicting accounts and deny their responsibility in the shooting of Seok Hae-kyun, the captain of the Samho Jewelry.

Officials told reporters that the pirates are responding well to questions, but investigators in charge of the probe said they are lying through their teeth. "Not only are they denying they shot Captain Seok, but are claiming not to know each other even though they come from the same region" of Somalia.

Investigators are providing the pirates with specially-prepared halal meals and dressed them in winter clothes. Doctors are on standby at a nearby hospital in case of medical emergencies. Maritime police in Busan are maintaining a 20 degree Celsius temperature in their cells. "The pirates are eating all their meals and went to bed at 11 p.m. on their first night in jail," a police officer said.

But the pirates admitted only that they were aboard the Samho Jewelry. They were questioned until 11 p.m. on Monday night and apparently began showing signs of fear. Investigators believe that Arai Mahomed, cited as the main culprit in the shooting of Captain Seok, sought medical attention for an injured hand on Monday afternoon because he felt pressured under questioning.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 01, 2011 13:00 KST