Chinese fisherman shot dead by S Korean coastguard
A Chinese fisherman died on Tuesday after being hit by a rubber bullet during a raid by South Korean coastguard commandos on illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea, officials said.
The 44-year-old was declared dead around 6pm, hours after he was rushed by helicopter to a hospital in the southwestern port of Mokpo, a coastguard spokesman told reporters.
“We believe a rubber bullet hit his chest during a raid by coastguard commandos to stop illegal fishing,” he said.
Some 30 Chinese boats were illegally fishing in South Korean waters near Hongdo island when a 3,000-tonne coastguard ship launched the operation, he said.
“Coastguard officers used rubber bullets to control the Chinese sailors who brandished knives and other deadly weapons,” the spokesman said, adding two boats with an unknown number of crew were seized.
Illegal fishing by Chinese boats is common in South Korean waters, with hundreds of craft seized every year.
Chinese sailors have often wielded weapons to resist arrest and coastguard officers have used tear gas and rubber bullets to subdue them.
In September 2008 a South Korean drowned while trying to inspect a Chinese boat.
In December 2010 a Chinese boat overturned and sank in the Yellow Sea after ramming a South Korean coastguard vessel. Two Chinese crewmen were killed.
Last December a South Korean coastguard officer was stabbed to death in a struggle with Chinese sailors.