Somali pirate case sparks Korean media frenzy
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Somali pirate case sparks Korean media frenzy

Five of the Somali pirates who hijacked South Korean crew members arrived in Korea yesterday and now are under investigation. Korea’s regional court issued arrest warrants for them, marking it the country’s first legal case involving pirates.

There has been a media frenzy surrounding this case. Updates were prominently featured  on all mainstream media, with most reports focusing on the rarity of the case. Chosun Newspaper[ko] wrote an article with every single detail about the captured pirates they could glean from the Coast Guard.

[Rough Translation]Yesterday at 7.25pm the pirates ate rice, cooked-Kimchi (mixed with rice), fried eggs, Doenjang soap, Japchae and etc,.  They ate it all without leaving any leftovers. According to Pusan Coast Guard, they all slept soundly and didn’t wake during the night. The following morning they were served with rice, pollack soap, fried eggs, Kimchi and tofu. One person asked them in English whether the food was okay and one pirate answered “good, good”.

Within less than half an hour after its release, the report became the most read article, reflecting people’s huge interest in the case. Many commented: ‘why did they ask that stupid food question?’ and ‘they are being fed well, too well as if they went on a field trip or something’. The fact that the pirates arrived on a private royal jet lent by the United Arab Emirates has drawn similar responses.

The pirates are being charged with maritime theft and attempted murder. Seoul Newspaper[ko] speculated that once all the charges are confirmed they will potentially face heavy punishment, such as execution or long-term imprisonment in a Korean jail. The captain of the hijacked ship Samho Jewerly wast shot several times during the military raid and is currently in grave condition.

The investigation has been hampered by the language barrier. The police have hired several translators to interpret(/translate) Somali into English, then again into Korean. Kookmin Newspaper[ko] said that there are four translators now, 1 Somali (Somali-English), two Koreans (English-Korean) and one professor of Pusan University of Foreign Language,  to translate Arabian into Korean. However, the police have failed to get a translator who can make direct interpretation from/to Korean and Somali.