"a junkful of Chinese pirates"

Despite a 300 year dominance by the Japanese Wokou, the most powerful pirates to exert control over East Asian waters have been Chinese, especially during the 17th – 18th Centuries.  The junk ships they favoured could be very large and extremely well equipped with weapons, and the acquisition of them was a significant part of the pirates’ activity. 


They also preyed on coastal villages, demanding money and other goods; a single fleet could consist of 10,000 men.  As with most waves of piracy, their demise was brought about due to naval efforts; the Qing forces succeeded in halting most activity by the 1820s.  There were however, some fleets still in existence until the 1870s, despite strong efforts from both the Royal and United States Navies to quash them.