Chinese naval forces have confirmed that at least 1200 people have died in a large-scale pirate attack on the southern Pacific tax haven of Liberty Island yesterday. The attack, which began at approximately 2am Pacific time, seems to have been well planned and involved several hundred well-armed and disciplined pirates, who quickly overwhelmed the island’s small security force and communications centre. Widescale looting, killing and sexual assaults have been reported, and large fires are engulfing the island.
Liberty Island, an artificial atoll which first opened in the 2060s as a tax shelter for those persons of exceptional wealth wishing to escape global tax treaties, is a sovereign nation owned by its residents as shareholders. Although it does boast a well-resourced private security force, the sheer size and surprise nature of the attack led to most of the force being wiped out. Rumours that a number of the security force helped the pirates are unconfirmed.
The founder of the island, libertarian billionaire T. Rawle Jessup, was killed in the attack. Footage has since been uploaded onto the web of the tax exile businessman sobbing and begging nearby governments to send help.
Chinese and Australian naval forces were alerted by desperate residents pleading for help by satellite phone, and arrived as the last of the pirates were leaving, engaging them in a two-hour gunbattle and killing an estimated 70 pirates.
Initial reports suggest that the main pirate force may have escaped with jewelry, gold, cash and treasury bonds worth billions of dollars and yuan. A number of celebrities are also missing and maybe have been kidnapped. The well-known transexual model Leslie? is amongst the missing.