Tue, 22 Oct 2019

Russian border guards have detained at least 160 North Korean nationals who they say were illegally fishing in Russian waters.

Russian media outlets including RIA Novosti and Interfax reported on September 18 that Russian authorities seized two fishing vessels and 11 motorboats in the action on the Sea of Japan.

The arrests came 'as a result of coordinated actions by the coast guard, aviation, and special-task units,' Interfax quoted the Russian Federal Security Service's (FSB) public-relations center as saying.

'Prohibited fishing equipment and illegally-fished sea biological resources were found and seized. Some foreigners have been injured, they have been treated.'

The incident was first reported on September 17 when the FSB said three of its officers had been wounded during an encounter with North Korean poachers at sea. At the time, the FSB said only that more than 80 sailors had been taken into custody.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned North Korean Charge d'Affaires Zin Jong Hep over the incident, expressing 'serious concern.'

Russian coast guards frequently detain North Korean fishermen in the Far East, and some of them are handed prison terms.

In July, North Korea released a Russian fishing boat with a Russian-South Korean crew after it was detained for violating entry regulations.

Based on reporting by Interfax and RIA Novosti

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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