A Chinese fisherman was jailed for 30 years yesterday for murdering a South Korean coast guard officer during an operation to stop illegal fishing, Seoul court officials said.
Cheng Dawei (陳大為), a 43-year-old fishing boat skipper, was also fined 20 million won (US$17,500) by the court in the western port city of Incheon.
The skipper fatally stabbed one officer with a knife and seriously wounded another on Dec. 12 last year, after they boarded his boat inside South Korea’s exclusive economic zone in the Yellow Sea.
It was the second time a South Korean coast guard officer had died at the hands of Chinese fishermen in less than four years and the incident sparked widespread public anger.
Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty for Cheng.
“One coast guard member was killed and another was seriously wounded, causing great shock and distress not only to their relatives but the Korean people as a whole,” the court said in its judgment. “Stern punishment is inevitable in order to prevent any recurrence.”
The judges said Cheng regretted his actions and had compensated the victim’s relatives “but he must take heavy responsibility for killing an officer and seriously injuring another.”
Nine other Chinese crewmembers were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 18 months to five years for obstructing the coast guard raid, in addition to fines of between 10 to 20 million won.
In related news, Japan’s coast guard yesterday arrested two Chinese after a collision on Sunday between their cargo vessel and a fishing boat that left the 76-year-old Japanese fishing boat skipper dead and his son missing.
Lin Shi, 29, and Wang Qing Lin, 22, were taken to a coast guard facility in Ishikawa Prefecture, about 300km northwest of Tokyo, a coast guard official said.
The two men, crew on the 9,800-tonne Yong Cai, were arrested over the incident on Sunday in the Sea of Japan in which their vessel collided with the fishing boat Daini Shinyo Maru.