Pirate hunters in South China Sea 18th-19th century?

Sep 2018
101
transitory
It seems that piracy along the South China/Vietnam coasts became a significant problem in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Not only did you have scattered bands of fishermen-turned-pirates, but also powerful pirate "admirals" with fleets, such as Zheng Yi and Ching Shih.

I have read about campaigns by the Qing and Vietnamese navies against pirates during this time. But I am wondering, did either Qing or Dai Viet/Viet Nam contract any private 'pirate hunters' to help solve this problem, or offer bounties to anyone who could capture pirates?

I know this kind of approach was sometimes used by western powers to fight pirates in the Caribbean, so I am interested to know if privateers/bounty hunters were also used by China and Vietnam to combat pirates?
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,912
Portugal
There is a tale, much of which I think is un-sourced, or better sourced much later to a point that we doubt it, that the Portuguese were allowed to establish in Macau in the 16th century, to trade, as a compensation to their help in the fight against Pirates.

Much closer to your chronology, the British ruling dynasty of the Brooke’s in Sarawak made several attempts to suppress piracy in the area, quite common among the Sea Dayaks.
 
Sep 2018
101
transitory
There is a tale, much of which I think is un-sourced, or better sourced much later to a point that we doubt it, that the Portuguese were allowed to establish in Macau in the 16th century, to trade, as a compensation to their help in the fight against Pirates.

Much closer to your chronology, the British ruling dynasty of the Brooke’s in Sarawak made several attempts to suppress piracy in the area, quite common among the Sea Dayaks.
I hadn't heard of that, thank you for mentioning it. Sarawak is normally a bit out of my range of reading, but I might look in to that...
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,912
Portugal
I hadn't heard of that, thank you for mentioning it. Sarawak is normally a bit out of my range of reading, but I might look in to that...
Still about that region and that timeline, a couple of years ago a fellow member of this forum, johnincornwall, gave me the tip of a curious biography of a Spanish in the Filipinas, that also covers the problems of the piracy in the region, unfortunately for you it is in Spanish, but it is worth to mention and to read: Cuarteroni y Los Piratas Malayos (1816-1880), by Alicia Castellanos Escudier,

CUARTERONI Y LOS PIRATAS MALAYOS | ALICIA CASTELLANOS ESCUDIER | Comprar libro 9788477371434
 
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May 2009
1,317
I know that in earlier periods the government would sometimes use pirates to fight pirates. I believe there are a few stories of powerful pirate leaders that were given pardons (and even minor titles) for switching sides and working for the state.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,028
Sydney
Henry Morgan , though officially a privateers was reputed to dabble in piracy on occasion , he certainly associated with them
eventually he was nominated Governor of Jamaica , hanging his ex- acquaintances
 
Sep 2018
101
transitory
I know that in earlier periods the government would sometimes use pirates to fight pirates. I believe there are a few stories of powerful pirate leaders that were given pardons (and even minor titles) for switching sides and working for the state.
I saw a few claims online about pirates switching sides and becoming Chinese naval officers in the period I mentioned, but couldn't find much detail or scholarly work on the subject. It isn't exactly the same as what I'm looking for at the moment though, that being examples of privateers or other non-government individuals contracted or paid bounties for hunting pirates.
 
Sep 2014
1,211
Queens, NYC
The individualised bounty hunters seem to have been less than an outstanding success for the British. I seem to recall that William Kidd started out as one, and turned pirate.
From what little I have read about Chinese/Japanese pirates, they seem to have sailed in fleets. Bounty hunters would probably have had no real wins over them.
 
Sep 2018
101
transitory
The individualised bounty hunters seem to have been less than an outstanding success for the British.
Depends I'd say. Don't want to get off topic talking about European privateers, but Jack Rackham, Anne Bonney, and Mary Read were all caught by a pirate hunter, Jonathan Barnet.

From what little I have read about Chinese/Japanese pirates, they seem to have sailed in fleets. Bounty hunters would probably have had no real wins over them.
It seems the more successful ones did anyway. I'm sure there were smaller fish that could be picked off by privateers with the right skill. I'm not just asking about privateers hunting down a fortune in bounties for the top dogs, it could also be some merc who gets paid a months wages in bounty for bringing in some pirate heads to his local magistrate. I just don't know if it was going on in the China/Viet seas in the time period I mentioned...