South Korea has arrested nine Chinese sailors after four of its officials were injured in a fight when they boarded a Chinese fish carrier suspected of illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea on Monday morning.
The 227-ton vessel was spotted near Heuksan island, 72 kilometers north-west of South Jeolla province.
South Korea’s coast guard said one official’s head was cut during the fight with Chinese sailors – who were armed with clubs and knives – while another was rescued after falling into the sea, the Associated Press reports.
The officials managed to return to their own vessel and contact the coast guard, which captured the fleeing Chinese sailors.
“The Chinese sailors were seized while trying to escape. They are being taken to our base,” a coastguard spokesman in South Jeolla’s city of Mokpo told the Agence France Presse.
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According to the BBC, the sea inside South Korea’s exclusive economic zone, between China and the west coast of the Korean peninsula, is rich in crabs and anchovies, and there have been several confrontations over illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea.
The coast guard seized about 475 Chinese ships in the area last year, up from 370 the year before.
Monday’s incident comes a week after Chinese fisherman Cheng Dawei was sentenced to 30 years in jail for stabbing a South Korean coast guard to death in December 2011.
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