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North Korean patrol boat fires on Chinese fishing boats, killing three

FILE PHOTO: Chinese fishing boats have taken half a billion dollars of illegal squid from North Korea since 2017

PortandTerminal.com, August 26, 2020

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – The Daily NK is reporting that a North Korean patrol boat recently fired live rounds at a Chinese boat illegally fishing in North Korean waters, leading to multiple deaths.

“On Aug. 11, a North Korean patrol boat opened fire on a Chinese boat that was fishing illegally in North Korean waters,” a China-based source told Daily NK on Friday. “Three Chinese fishermen were killed in the incident.”

According to the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons, the Chinese boats were fishing illegally in coastal waters off the North Korean west coast, near Haeju and Ongjin County in South Hwanghae Province. 

A Chinese fishing vessel
A Chinese fishing vessel similar to this one was targeted (Image: GETTY)
A North Korean patrol boat
A North Korean patrol boat on the Yalu River (Image: GETTY)

Chinese vessels usually work in groups, and on this occasion there were around 10 boats fishing together when one was followed by the North Korean patrol and fired upon.

Three of the Chinese fishermen on board were reportedly killed on the spot.

The Chinese vessel that received the barrage of shots was towed away by other ships in the fleet, and Chinese authorities have reportedly been trying to ensure news of the incident does not leak. 

“Up until last year, North Korean patrol boats had never gone beyond making threats so they could receive bribes,” the source said. “In the past, they would fire warning shots which, of course, could hit the other boats. This time, however, they fired directly at the fishermen and killed them.” 

The source believed there is a high likelihood the shooting was retaliation for an incident in July when Chinese fishing vessels rammed a North Korean patrol boat in the Yalu River delta. 

A source in North Pyongan Province familiar with this incident explained that such “untoward incidents” have been happening because North Korean soldiers have less income from bribes than before following the closure of the Sino-North Korean border. 

Describing another grisly incident, the source added: “In June, an empty Chinese fishing boat was discovered in waters near Dandong, with bloodstained footprints and what appeared to be a piece of human ear.

“After the Chinese government conducted an investigation, they concluded that the incident had likely been committed by the North Korean coast guard.”

“Military units have become even more brutal since they are barred from going out to sea to earn money because of COVID-19,” the source said, adding, “The fact that they are willing to commit piracy and even murder has left [many] Chinese people frightened.”

Read Daily NK’s complete analysis of the incident by clicking here.

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