By Stephen Hong
Nine Chinese fishermen suspected of illegally fishing in Korean waters were arrested today after allegedly injuring four officials who tried to board their vessel.
According to the ministry of food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, the incident took place off the coast of South Jeolla province.
One official who managed to board the 227-tonne Chinese vessel fell into the sea after being struck but was rescued, while the other three received various injuries after being beaten back by the fishermen.
Ministry spokesperson Kim Chae-kyun said the injured officials were airlifted to hospital for treatment but “their injuries are not serious.”
The Chinese vessel attempted to flee following the assault but was caught by the Korean coastguard after a two-hour chase. The nine-man crew was arrested and was being taken to the port of Mokpo.
Kim said his ministry would summon the Chinese consulate general in South Korea to protest the assault.
Chinese vessels are frequently caught for illegal fishing in South Korean waters in the Yellow Sea.
South Korea has vowed to crackdown on Chinese ships operating illegally in its waters after a Korean coast guard officer was stabbed to death by the skipper of a Chinese vessel last December.
The captain, Cheng Daiwei, was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment earlier this month for the killing.