Tuesday, October 15, 2013
An alleged Somali pirate kingpin was lured into custody by asking him to be an adviser on a Hollywood style movie that was supposed to be based on his life.
When the alleged pirate -- best known by the nickname Afweyne or Big Mouth -- arrived in Belgium, he was promptly arrested.
Belgian federal prosecutors say Mohammed Abdi Hassan is facing hijacking and kidnapping charges.
The charges stem from the 2009 hijacking of the Belgian dredger ship Pompei. The crew of the Pompei was held hostage for 10 weeks, and were not released until the ship's owner paid a large ransom.
"Several elements in the judicial investigation show that the so called Afweyne, played a central part in the hijacking and kidnapping of the Pompei, as organizer and financier," said Belgian prosecutor Johan Delmulle.
It seems Big Mouth could not pass up an opportunity for what he thought was a lucrative contract to work on a big-screen blockbuster.
Undercover agents lured Abdi Hassan, and an alleged accomplice who goes by the name Titsche, to Belgium by offering him a chance to be an adviser on a fake documentary about his own life.
Delmulle says the sting was months in the making. "We asked Afweyne, via Titsche, if he would be prepared to act as adviser and experience expert in a film project on maritime piracy. It would be a fictional story on his life as a pirate."
Abdi Hassan took the bait. When he and Titsche landed at the airport in Brussels they were arrested.
Abdi Hassan is considered to be the alleged mastermind behind a number of high profile hijackings carried out by Somali pirates, who take over ships and demand large ransoms.
Big Mouth fell for the prosecutor's scam as the movie "Captain Phillips" is being released about the American freighter captain who was rescued from Somali pirates by U.S. special forces.