The lure of celebrity has proven irresistible for accused Somali pirate Mohamed Abdi Hassan, who has been arrested in Belgium after a sophisticated sting operation.
He was detained at Brussels airport along with another man when he arrived believing he was to be interviewed for a documentary about his life story, money-making on the high seas. Instead he now faces trial for his alleged hijacking of the Belgian vessel “Pompei”.
“After patiently building up a relationship of trust that took several months we finally convinced him and his associate, the former Governor of Himan province, to take part,” said federal prosecutor Johan Demulle.
It is the first known use of this sort of sting to capture someone normally beyond the reach of an international arrest warrant, and stems from the arrest of two pirates in 2009, when prosecutors decided to pursue the chain of command right to the very top.