As the pirate captain waits for his next sortie, he tells the story of his last. A crew member on a Thai palm-oil tanker working for the captain gives him the layout of the freighter and an exact time and place to hit it in the Singapore Strait. The captain phones the boss of a Hong Kong triad, an organized crime syndicate, who agrees to pay him and his crew $9,000 up front, another $50,000 on delivery of the stolen ship, and arranges fake papers for it under a new name.
On the appointed night, two speedboats race west out of Babi Island off the northern tip of Indonesia, within sight of the Singapore skyline. After an hour or two, they cut their engines and wait, bobbing in the swell of passing vessels near the world’s busiest shipping lane. The pirates are split into two groups, one in each boat. In the first are the captain and his men, all experienced sailors with years in the merchant navy. In the second is the muscle—specialist boarders known locally as bajing loncat, literally "jumping squirrels." In their boat, the boarders assemble their 65-foot boarding poles, called satang, tying lengths of bamboo together with twine and attaching a hook to the end of each one. They also use twine to make sword belts and rudimentary handcuffs.