In the News – Rogue N.Korean Soldiers Suspected in Hijack of Chinese Boats
Three Chinese fishing boats that were seized by a small North Korean Navy boat on the West Sea on May 8 returned to Dalian Port at around 7 a.m. on Monday. The fishermen were given a health check immediately after they arrived. Three complained of extreme dizziness, and three others showed clear signs of external injuries, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Twenty eight Chinese fishermen had been abducted, not 29 as reported earlier.
The owners of the Chinese fishing boats said the crew were taken to the coast of North Hwanghae Province in North Korea. They were kept in a dark room all day and given just two bowls of gruel a day. They were beaten with sticks or metal rods if they failed to obey orders, and the food and supplies in their ships were plundered. Just before they were released, the captors erased the navigational records on the GPS devices on the fishing boats, the fishermen said.
On Sunday the North Korean Foreign Ministry said the fishermen were returned with no strings attached. Initially, the captors had demanded a ransom of 90,000 yuan (around W160 million) per vessel.
“That was something that should not happen between the two countries. We understand the complaints of the Chinese people,” a North Korean official was quoted as saying by China’s Global Times.