Sat, Nov 15, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Indonesian may face death sentence

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Prosecutors in Pingtung City sought the death sentence on Thursday for an Indonesian deckhand charged with murder.

After a two-month investigation, the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office asked that Takhari, a deckhand on the Taiyihsiang, a fishing boat working out of Pingtung County’s Liouciou (琉球) harbor, be sentenced to death for masterminding the murder of the vessel’s Taiwanese skipper, Lee Feng-pao (李豐寶), on the high seas near Guam on Aug. 20.

Lee was the only Taiwanese national on the tuna vessel, which set out from Liouciou on July 12 and lost contact with fishery authorities on Aug. 19. It was crewed by eight Indonesian deckhands.

The Pingtung prosecutors also sought life sentences for two other crewmen, identified as Didit Wardoyo and Dartam Dulbari, as Takhari’s accomplices.

The prosecutors’ indictment said Takhari masterminded a mutiny and asked Wardoyo and Dulbari to join him in an “action” on Aug. 20.

Lee was urinating off the vessel’s port side facing the ocean at around 10am on Aug. 20 when Wardoyo and Dulbari came at him from behind, grabbing his legs and tipping him overboard, the indictment said.

Takhari then took the helm of the vessel and sailed for Indonesia. He calmed the five other deckhands by promising them that they would share the income after the vessel’s catch was sold, the indictment said.

The prosecutors also asked that the remaining five be sentenced to one year in prison for condoning the action out of greed.

The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) dispatched a vessel on a search for the Taiyihsiang in late August after Lee’s family, fearing that he was a victim of foul play, filed an appeal for help. The CGA also asked for help from the authorities in Palau and Indonesia, whose governments responded to Taiwan’s requests and prepared to intercept the boat.

Because the automatic response mechanism of the Taiyihsiang’s global positioning system had not been switched off, CGA patrolmen spotted the hijacked vessel in waters near Palau on Aug. 29.

Upon boarding the vessel and failing to find Lee, the officers took control and sailed it back to Pingtung for investigation, the indictment said.

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