With his pale features and a sadness behind his eyes, 37-year-old Nhem Soksan yesterday described his life for the past 1,672 days as a hostage of Somali pirates, claiming it was worse than living under the Khmer Rouge regime. Mr. Soksan is one of four Cambodians – along with Em Phumany, Khorn Vanthy and Kim Kimheng – who returned to Phnom Penh on Monday after a harrowing ordeal that saw the ship where they worked, the Taiwanese-owned, Omani-flagged Naham 3, get captured south of the Seychelles archipelago by pirates during the peak of Somali piracy in March 2012.
The men, along with 25 others from countries across Asia, were held for ransom for more than four years in deplorable conditions. Three members of the group died in captivity before Hostage Support Partners allegedly paid a $1.2 million ransom for their release last week, according to Alan Code, head of the Kenya-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Global Maritime Crime Program.
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Pirates ‘Worse than KR’