Particulars of the Looting of the Steamer Pegu.

Officers of the Steamer Attacked While at Dinner-- The Chief Engineer Escaped, But the Captain Is Cat Down Several Passengers Killed and Many Wounded.
San Francisco, Aug. 21. The steamer Coptic, winch arrived today, brings from Hong Kong the first details of the looting and killing on the steamer Pegu by Chinese pirates on the Penang coast on July 8. Eleven Achinese men and one woman boarded the steamer at Erie, one or the stopping places, where pepper was taken on. Capt. Ross, according to custom, searched the men for weapons, but did not search  the woman. She carried under her Malay attire knives with which the bloody work was done.

While the captain and Chief Engineer Cragie were at dinner, six armed Achinese burst into the saloon and attacked them. The orficers were unarmed and defended themselves with chairs, but were terribly slashed about the hands and arms. Both succeeded in reaching the deck. Cragie made his way to the engine-room, where he bolted the door and was safe.  He wis not badly hurt. The captain then sprang on deck, when he was attacked by one on the Achinese with a carving knife, taken from the table, and was literally disemboweled. As he fell the others hacked him with their knives, and he soon breathed his last. The pirates then attacked the mate and steersman and cut them down on the bridge.

On the deck two more passengers were slain. The pirates ran among the Chinese,hacking and slashing right and left. They wounded fifteen and drove several over board.
Having terrorized the passengers they thoroughly looted the vessel and ran her near  to shore. The safe was opened and $15,000 taken. Boats were then lowered and the pirates made off -with the booty.

When the steamer reached Telak, the wounded were taken ashore. The vessel's deck looked like a charnal-house, being spattered with blood of the slaughtered victims.

Capt. Ross had been in the Malay trade for fourteen years. Twice before he had been attacked by Chinese pirates, but he was fearless. The vessel was attacked and looted once before in the same place, the weapons in this case being smuggled on board in bedding.

Published : The Times, Sunday Morning, August 22, 1897 


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