Belgian police catch Somali pirate leader by luring him with fake documentary

With Captain Phillips earning rave reviews from Laremy and the crew of the Maersk Alabama making headlines, and some even talking up the Oscar chances of a Somali limo driver who appeared in the film, Somali pirates can’t really be blamed for thinking that they’re the next Scarfaces and Corleones. And it was just that kind of wishful thinking that police in Belgium played upon to catch a “notorious and influential” pirate mastermind named “Big Mouth,” who was lured into the arms of the authorities in a sting promising him a job on a documentary about his exploits.

Ah, the old “make them think they’re getting a reality show” trick. These Belgians should be managers in Hollywood.

In a sting operation worthy of Hollywood, Mohamed Abdi Hassan was lured from Somalia to Belgium with promises of work on a documentary about high-seas crime that would “mirror his life as a pirate,” federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle said Monday.

But rather than being behind the camera as an expert adviser, Abdi Hassan ended up behind bars, nabbed as he landed Saturday at Brussels airport.

“(He’s) one of the most important and infamous kingpin pirate leaders, responsible for the hijacking of dozens of commercial vessels from 2008 to 2013,” Delmulle said.

Abdi Hassan — whose nickname, Afweyne, means “Big Mouth” — was charged with hijacking the Belgian dredger Pompei and kidnapping its nine-member crew in 2009, Delmulle said.

The Pompei’s crew was released after 10 weeks in captivity when the ship’s owner paid a reported $3 million ransom. Belgium caught two pirates involved in the hijacking, convicted them and sentenced them to nine and 10 years in prison.

But prosecutors still wanted the ringleaders. […]

They approached an accomplice known as Tiiceey, dangling a fake job as an adviser to a fake movie about piracy, Delmulle said.

The two men took the bait. Tiiceey was also arrested Saturday. [TimesFreePress]

I know pirates can be ruthless dudes, but I can’t help but feel bad for them. Their country has no government to enforce laws, so all the most corrupt people from everywhere else in the world flock to their coastline to dump waste and poach fish, and they live in a dusty hellhole with no natural resources. What else is there to do besides become a pirate? And then you play on their desperation by offering them a fake chance to make money by doing something legit and throw them in prison? Seems kind of messed up.

I’m in favor of rehabilitation. No natural resources or central government… how about a blogging job? If we want to stop piracy, we need to airlift some wifi cards and teach these poor sons of bitches to make Buzzfeed listicles. “10 Signs You Are Overweight American Pig Born in 1980s, by Abdi-Aziz Al-Barak.”