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LinkAsia | Oct 16
The South Korean Coast Guard spots a Chinese boat fishing illegally in South Korean waters. Two vessels approach, and find a row of sharp spears pr...
Two Chinese fishermen are facing arrest for injuring five South Korean fishing officials. The Chinese were part of a crew of nine sailors, who are suspected of illegally fishing in the Yellow Sea, or what the Koreans call the West Sea. Incidents like these are becoming increasingly common, as Chinese fishermen go farther and farther to find enough fish to meet domestic demand for seafood. Here's South Korean broadcaster MBC with the details on the latest confrontation.
The Chinese fishing boat fled at full steam through the jet-black night. The South Korean coast guard officers hung on, their inflatable boats from the West Sea Fisheries Supervision Office in hot pursuit. The Chinese fishing boat was eventually captured after two hours, but five fishery officers, including Mr. Ha, were stabbed and injured in the process. Nine crewmen aboard the 227-ton Chinese vessel were taken to the port of Mokpo and are being questioned by the coast guard officers. After the death last December of coast guard officer Lee Pyung-ho, South Korea's government promised to crack down on illegal fishing boats. However, progress has been at a snail's pace. There are only 15 vessels with an average of 14 crewmen on board to defend 2,000 kilometers of the West Sea. Excluding the vessel's crew, there are actually only seven to eight coast guard officers aboard, hardly enough to battle dozens of Chinese fishermen who may be wielding deadly weapons. What's worse, there are only four protective vests per vessel, and the other coast guard officers have to make do with lifejackets while fighting against Chinese who are armed with axes and knives.
Lee Ki-hoon, West Sea Fisheries' Supervision Office Spokesman:
The Chinese fishing boats have become more organized and barbarous. Last December, the South Korean government announced a plan to eradicate illegal Chinese fishing. However the plan hasn't been carried out properly.
This year so far, fisheries officers captured over 100 Chinese illegal fishing boats. Eight officers have been injured.
You might remember that we had a similar report back in December, when a South Korean coast guard officer was killed during a confrontation on board a Chinese fishing boat. Just last week, the captain of that boat was sentenced to 30 years in prison for stabbing and killing the officer.