One of the most feared pirates in history, Ching Shih's “Red Flag Fleet” terrorized the high seas around China with more than 400 ships and thousands of men. When the Imperial Fleet was called upon to end her pirating ways, she met them head-on and proceeded to capture 63 ships from the Chinese Navy. She then filled her fleet's ranks with the Navy's former crew, offering them a choice between joining her and being beaten to death with clubs. The government later recruited British and Dutch warships to bring her down, only to have them meet with a similar fate. Not too bad for a woman who began her career as a Chinese prostitute wedded to one of the fleet's captains, eh?
Side note: In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, actress Takayo Fischer plays a character named “Mistress Ching” – a nod to Ching Shih.