A week after a Chinese supervisor was charged with the torture killing of 20year old sailor on the Lu Huang Yuan 118, recent updates include three more arrests of recruiting agency bosses over the death of the Indonesian crew member.
The three suspects are charged on the grounds of human trafficking law, as well as the fact that they put crew members at risk, on purpose, said Awi Setiyono, national police spokesperson.
The incidents aboard the ships have highlighted the gross exploitation, trafficking, and forced labor of poor and uneducated workers and seafarers from Southeast Asia who are recruited by shady agencies with the promise of good pay at sea.
The 20-year-old sailor, Hasan Apriadi was found dead and frozen in a freezer on the Lu Huang Yuan Yu 118 after he was suspected to have gone missing for more than a month. The police intercepted the two Argentina-bound Chinese boats on the Malacca Strait after receiving a tip-off that a crew member had died on board.
Joint forces then proceeded to arrest the both the ship and its sister vessel, 117 with the suspicion of being involved in physical abuse, money laundering, and torture said commander Indarto Budiaro of Tanjung Pinang Naval base.
Following interrogations and detentions of several members of the crew from different nationalities including Chinese, Indonesians, and the Filipinos, Song Chuanyun was charged with the killing.
As per the statements of witnesses, Chinese crew member Song Chuanyun had allegedly forced labor upon Hasan even when he was ill. On days prior to his death in late June, Hasan was denied food or water while being tortured.
Riau province police spokesperson Harry Golde has confirmed the release of the other crew members who are now in the custody of their embassies. Chuanyun is to be tried in Indonesia.
Other instances of torture of seafarers aboard ships have appeared since May this year, starting with the Facebook video showing the body dumping of an Indonesian sailor from a Chinese vessel.
Later in June, two Indonesian members reportedly jumped off a Chinese vessel to escape brutal conditions of physical abuse.
A month ago, 3 Indonesian crew members were seen thrown off a Chinese-flagged vessel. Beijing maintains that the sea burials are in line with international law even as outrage among the public ensues.