ROK's verdict on captain rejected
Updated: 2012-04-20 08:05
By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)
Beijing on Thursday rejected the judgment of a Republic of Korea local court in a case involving a Chinese captain charged with killing a Seoul coast guard officer.
The Incheon District Court sentenced Cheng Dawei, captain of a Chinese fishing boat, to 30 years in prison on Thursday for killing a law enforcement officer during a crackdown on illegal fishing last year.
The court ordered Cheng to pay 20 million won ($17,600) in fines, and sentenced eight other Chinese fishermen from the same boat to prison terms ranging from one-and-a-half to five years for "obstructing the coast guard officers in the course of their duty".
The incident occurred after two ROK coast guard officers boarded Cheng's fishing boat, Luwenyu 15001, on Dec 12 in the Yellow Sea waters off Incheon, west of Seoul. Cheng's boat was operating with a permit when the coast guard officers came aboard for what they said was a routine inspection.
They accused the boat of illegal fishing in waters claimed by the ROK to be in Seoul's exclusive economic zone.
The 42-year-old captain was accused of stabbing the two coast guard officers, killing one and injuring the other. Media reports said Seoul's prosecutors sought the death penalty for the captain.
The court's decision was based on Seoul's domestic law regarding exclusive economic zones. "Beijing and Seoul have not achieved an agreement on the definition of related exclusive economic zones, and China does not accept the unilateral resort to the law of exclusive economic zones," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Thursday.
"Beijing will keep a close watch on the case's development and provide necessary assistance to the Chinese citizens involved in the case to ensure their justified and legal rights," Liu said.
The two countries have experienced a number of fishing disputes in recent years, and analysts said the undecided status of exclusive economic zones has led to more fishing disputes and clashes.
"Governments from both sides should beef up exchanges and achieve an early start to an agreement over the related exclusive economic zone," said Huang Youfu, director of the Institute of Korean Studies at Minzu University of China.
The two countries' fishery regulatory bodies held a three-day meeting last week in Qingdao, Shandong province, to discuss bilateral fishing law enforcement, according to Fishery Bureau of Ministry of Agriculture.
Beijing and Seoul agreed to crack down on boats that operate without a license, fish in another country's territorial waters and obstruct law enforcement with violence, the bureau said.
(China Daily 04/20/2012 page11)