Hong Kong’s Ming Pao carries China News Agency’s report saying that on May 8, three Chinese fishing boats and 29 of their crews were kidnapped by unidentified North Koreans. The ransom demanded for their release has now been reduced to 900,000 yuan (US$142,400) from 1.2 million yuan (US$190,000)
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: China stays in close contact with North Korea on the incident of the seizure of the fishing boats and hopes that the issue will be resolved satisfactorily as soon as possible.China asks North Korea to ensure Chinese crews’ safety and lawful rights.
According to the report by www.cnr-yg.com, recently three Chinese fishing boats have been taken control by unidentified Koreans when they were fishing in Chinese maritime territory and 29 of the crew have been detained. At first, four fishing boats were seized, but one of them registered at Dalian Gulf has been released while the other three registered in Dandong remained in custody.
On May 17, the kidnappers raised their latest demand for a ransom of 900,000 yuan and threatened to kill the crews if they are not paid.
Yang Hongbin, one of the owners of the boats, said that he remembered that their fleet set out from Rongcheng, Shandong on May 2, arrived at the site of the seizure in the evening of May 7 and began their fishing there. They were then located at 123057’E and 38005’N. Fishermen regard 1240E as the maritime border between China and North Korea. Early in the morning of May 8, two North Korean boats suddenly crossed the borderline, seized the four fishing boats and brought them to Korean maritime territory.
Voice of Russia says in its report that according to the information provided by other boat owners, there may be Chinese among the kidnapers because the mobile phone number given by them for contact is a mobile phone number registered in China. Sources tells Agence France Presse that if the ransom is not paid before May 17, the kidnappers will sell all the fishing boats that have a total value of 3 million yuan (US$474,700)
Moreover, relevant people in the border defense headquarters of Liaoning Province reveal that they are now making conscientious contacts with the North Korean side to facilitate satisfactory resolution of the issue.
- North Koreans demand RMB1.2 million ransom for 3 Chinese fishing boats (chinadailymail.com)
- North Korean Boat Hijacks Three Chinese Fishing Boats (freeinternetpress.com)
- DPRK, China In Contact Over Captured Fishing Vessels (nkleadershipwatch.wordpress.com)