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Prosecutors indict Chinese fisherman on murder charges

All Headlines 20:55 January 10, 2012

INCHEON, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors indicted the captain of a Chinese fishing boat with physical detention Tuesday on charges of killing a South Korean law enforcement officer last month during a raid on the vessel for illegally fishing in Korea's exclusive economic zone.

The 42-year-old captain, whose identity was withheld from the public, was accused of stabbing a South Korean Coast Guard corporal to death with a knife and seriously wounding another officer on Dec. 12 during a crackdown on Chinese sailors fishing in waters off Incheon, west of Seoul.

The Incheon District Prosecutor's Office also indicted nine Chinese sailors on the fishing boat with physical detention on charges of obstructing government affairs, such as blocking the Cost Guard officers from conducting the raid operation, officials said.

The fishing boat was traveling 87 kilometers southwest of Socheong Island in the Yellow Sea in South Korea's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), when it was boarded by Coast Guard officers.

After denying killing the Korean corporal, the Chinese captain admitted his crime last month.

Chinese fishing ships illegally cross into South Korea's Yellow Sea every year in search of anchovies, blue crabs and croakers, rich in the local sea. The intrusions spark frequent clashes with the Coast Guard, sometimes leading to the deaths of local officers.

The Coast Guard captured or sent back more than 470 Chinese vessels between January and December of 2011 for illegally fishing in the Yellow Sea.

The Coast Guard officer's death last month sparked outrage from South Koreans.

During a summit with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak this week, Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to step up education and supervision to reduce illegal fishing by Chinese fishermen in Korea's exclusive economic zone.

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