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Murder by Shark Attack

Updated on December 3, 2012
shark | Source

It seems incredible to believe, but murder by shark attack has been carried out several times. What better way to get rid of a love rival, for example?

"Help! Help! There's been a terrible accident!"

In those instances, whoever carried out the murder must have got away with it, because it is not documented in the International Shark Attack files.

Some are, however, and it is those I will concentrate on.

During World War II, there are at least 2 documented incidents where allied forces were put to death by shark attack, which must have been incredibly simple to explain away, if it weren't for the odd survivor telling a different tale.

Who knows how many more of those atrocities were committed that were kept secret, never passed on, but which happened, leaving our faith in our fellow man shattered forever.

Sharks kill because they are hungry.

Sadly, on most occasions after a bite or two, they decide we are not seals after all, and that they don't even like the taste of us. Unfortunately, in a lot if instances, that bite proves fatal to us because it severs an artery.

Did you know that if any of our arteries are severed, without immediate first aid we can expect to live for a further 3 minutes or so? Learn how to stem the bleeding if someone is bitten by a shark.

Some sharks have swallowed people whole, which further suggests we are not especially enjoyable to eat, but protein is protein, a species needs to eat to survive,

General Imamura
General Imamura

The Pig Basket Atrocity 1942

This is a Hellish scenario which actually happened.

Around 200 Allied soldiers were captured at Kempetai, in East Java in 1942.

They were put into pig baskets which were 3' long, then put onto lorries (trucks) and transported to the coast. There were 5 open lorries, which meant that each lorry had to be carrying 40 pig baskets each containing a single POW.

The heat was tremendous, 38 degrees C, and they were offered no food or water.

Once they reached the coast, they were carried out onto waiting boats (which suggest a well-planned operation), and taken out to sea off Surabaya.

Once in shark-infested waters, they were thrown overboard, baskets and all. The boats then returned to dock.

A credible witness at the time was 15 year old Elizabeth Van Kempen who saw all this happening from the nearby mountain ridge of Semeru, while alongside her father.

Her father was killed 3 years later by the Kempetai for hiding weapons and ammunitions.

The commander in chief of the Japanese forces in Java, General Imamura, was afterwards acquitted at a court in the Netherlands of being responsible for this atrocity due to lack of evidence, but an Australian military court later handed him a sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Japanese World War II submarine
Japanese World War II submarine

The Cheribon Atrocity 1945

Occurring in July, 1945, the Cheribon Atrocity, as it has become known, is in many ways worse than the Pig basket Atrocity as it involved innocent civilians.

In Northern Java, at the port of Cheribon, 90 European civililans, many of them women and children, were put onto the open deck of a Japanese naval submarine and taken out to sea.

All the time the guns from the submarine, both fore and aft were pointed at them and they feared the worst.

But suddenly, when the submarine reached shark infested waters, she dived.

All the people who had been on deck were eaten alive, except for one survivor who, when picked up by a a Javanese fishing boat had already lost an arm and a foot.

He died shortly afterwards, but not before telling the fishermen what had happened.

When the war was over this was reported to the relevant authorities, but by then the Japanese had destroyed all the records and the submarine and its commanders were never identified.

No-one ever stood trial for this.

Somali smugglers in the Gulf of Aden
Somali smugglers in the Gulf of Aden

Refugees thrown to sharks on the Gulf of Aden

In the Gulf of Aden, in October, 2006, between Somalia and Yemen, 5 Ethiopean refugees, were beaten and thrown overboard to be eaten by shark by smugglers, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

No-one ever stood trial for this atrocity, nor will unless something is done to curb the total lawlessness that is occurring in Somalia, which has no government to speak of. The country is in the control of different warring factions, and people are desperate to flee to any neighbouring country.

On the 22nd of March, 2007, at Yemen, up to 71 Somalia and Ethiopean refugees were beaten up by smugglers before being thrown to waiting sharks in the waters around the boat, according to the UNHCR, and reported in the International Shark Attack Files.

Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden

Every year the death figure rises.

The smugglers have absolutely no human compassion. They pick their cargo of up to 100 refugees from both Somalia and Ethiopia and cram them on to tiny, un-seaworthy boats, and set sail for what should be a 3 day crossing to Yemen.

The seas are frequently battered by storms that those boats can barely withstand. The refugees are soon seasick but are forced to stay awake and scoop water out of the boats. Those who fail get put overboard.

They have no water or food during these journeys, and when they arrive in Yemeni waters, they are frequently ordered overboard to swim ashore, sometimes from as far as 3 miles out.

The death toll in 2009 stands at 146 with a futher 85 missing at sea.

bodies washed up on Yemeni shores from a refugee boat
bodies washed up on Yemeni shores from a refugee boat | Source

This is a terrible and ongoing situation that is outwith the remit of this hub to continue with, as this article is about murder by shark attack which it seems is more common than at first thought.

For further reading, and perhaps an offer of assistance, go to


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    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from UK

      I hadn't either, till I read about them in those files (the files are a download, by the way, not published online, just do a search for them). It gave me nightmares just thinking about it. Horrendous! Actually, I've just added a link to the hub to those files.

    • Karen N profile image

      Karen N 

      8 years ago from United States

      I've never heard of this before, but it stands to reason that would be a good way to get rid of prisoners without record of it. But what a horrifying way to die!


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