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Russia detains large group of North Korean fishermen, alleges massive poaching

Russian coast guard vessel (United States Coast Guard/WikiCommons)
September 28, 2019

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russia has detained a large group of North Korean fishermen after the Federal Security Service (FSB) accused them of poaching in Russia’s “exclusive economic waters.”

The FSB said on September 27 that 262 North Korean nationals were detained and three fishing vessels and five motorboats impounded in the operation, adding that 30,000 illegally caught squid and prohibited fishing equipment were confiscated.

The incident comes less than two weeks after Russian border guards detained 161 North Korean men, one of whom later died, and impounded two schooners and 11 motorboats in a two-day sweep to prevent illegal fishing in Russia’s territorial waters.

The FSB said then that the North Koreans attacked Russian border guards with bladed weapons, wounding four officers, who were hospitalized.

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Russia’s Foreign Ministry subsequently summoned North Korea’s chargé d’affaires Zin Jong Hep over the incident, expressing “serious concern.”

Russian coast guards frequently detain North Korean fishermen in the Far East, sometimes handing them prison terms as a deterrent to others.

In July, North Korea released a Russian fishing boat with a Russian-South Korean crew after it was detained for what Pyongyang called “entry violations.”