September 26, 2008

South Korea: Coast Guard Found Dead After Inspecting Chinese Boat

Text of report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap

MOKPO, South Korea, Sept. 26 (Yonhap) - A coastguardsman was found dead Friday afternoon after a skirmish occurred while he was inspecting a Chinese boat for alleged illegal fishing in the South Korean waters, maritime officials said.

The body of the 48-year-old Coastguardsman, who is identified only by his last name Park, was found at 1:10 p.m. Friday floating in the waters near Gageo Island, a two and half-hour distance from the southwestern port city of Mokpo.

Park had been missing since around 7:40 p.m. Thursday, after he stopped two Chinese fishing boats 73 kilometres off the island for allegedly fishing in South Korea's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Coast Guard said.

The fishermen were reported to have physically resisted when Park and his two other colleagues stopped them, wielding metal pipes, shovels and clubs.

The 50-ton Chinese fishing boats were caught at around 10:30 a.m. Friday. Eleven Chinese fishermen on board are now under further inspection, the officials said.

"When Park went missing, the weather on the sea was not good and the fishermen strongly resisted," an official said.

Originally published by Yonhap news agency, Seoul, in English 0735 26 Sep 08.

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