Fishermen accused of attacking inspectors

MOKPO, South Korea, May 1 (UPI) — Two Chinese sailors have been accused of attacking four South Korean officials who boarded their boat, suspected of illegal fishing in South Korean waters.

South Korea’s Coast Guard said it was seeking arrest warrants for the two sailors — the 36-year-old skipper of a fishing boat and a 29-year-old navigator — who had been detained since early Monday after the alleged attack on the Yellow Sea near Heuksan Island, South Jeolla Province, Yonhap reported.

A South Korean inspector who boarded the 227-ton Chinese fishing vessel fell into the water after being struck with a blunt instrument and was rescued by a South Korean Coast Guard boat. Three other inspectors suffered severe and minor injuries but none life-threatening, Yonhap said.

The inspectors work for the West Sea Fisheries Supervision Office, affiliated with the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Coast Guard seized the vessel and imposed bail of $13,292 for its release.

South Korea has pledged to crack down on illegal fishing by Chinese boats since the fatal stabbing of one of its Coast Guard officers by a Chinese captain in a raid in December, Yonhap said.

South Korea and China said they would work together to try to prevent illegal fishing.

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